Roy Keane coy on John O'Shea's place along with Seamus Coleman's less than ideal start to the season

The Republic of Ireland's assistant manager had to deal with questions about three of their biggests

BY Robbie Dunne 15:00 Friday 2 September 2016, 15:00 2 Sep 2016

Martin O'Neill is faced with a selection headache ahead of Monday night's qualifier against Serbia which sees Ireland kickstart their bid for a spot in Russia 2018.

James McCarthy returned to Merseyside to receive treatment, which might also mean surgery for the Everton player, while John O'Shea reportedly received a hip injection this week and Seamus Coleman has only played in a couple of preseason games and did not feature against Oman on Wednesday night.

"It's not ideal that Seamus has had only a couple of pre-season friendlies. But if he gets through the next few days of work, he has a chance of playing."

"I think John is going to be okay, we'll see about Seamus. They'll play if they are ready."

"He [Coleman] has done a bit today, yesterday obviously very light stuff but they'll be ready [if called upon]."

Keane was asked at his press conference whether O'Shea was the kind of player who had to start due to the loss of experienced players such as Shay Given and Robbie Keane but the Corkman brushed aside such assertations stating O'Shea is not a striker or a goalkeeper and that it's not a like-for-like replacement.

"I'm not going to sit here and say any player in the squad has to play. What we know is if John O'Shea plays, he won't let us down."

"There's competition for places and we're delighted to have John with us," Keane said.

But he was unwilling to say O'shea had to start, "that's cuckoo land. John doesn't have to play, if he's not right he won't play. If John is not fit, we have plenty of other centre-halves who can play."

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