Belgium camp responds to Roy Keane trying to "get inside Eden Hazard's head"
The fires are stoked, the Belgians are tetchy.
It doesn't take much to start a war of words these days and, in Ireland and Belgium's case, it only took a reminder of a past quote.
In the build-up to Saturday's crunch Group E clash, Roy Keane's comments about kicking Eden Hazard - months ago - were brought up again. The Chelsea player seemed like he was looking away from the London club during the season with some quotes in the media, so Keane politely explained what he'd do with him if they played on the same team.
On Thursday - on matchday minus two - it was brought up again.
"If you asked me, if I was playing with anybody, whether it was Forest, Rockmount or Cobh Ramblers, and they were constantly talking - and it was true - they wanted to leave and they had a poor attitude to training, then I would I would kick them in training."
That was Keane's response to an old comment. The media's response was viral.
So the question was put to Toby Alderweireld in Le Haillan, just north of Bordeaux, at a rain-ruined Belgium training camp. Would Keane's words affect the team in their build-up?
"Yeah... I think he understands, you know, they want to get inside Eden's head," the Spurs defender told SportsJOE during his press conference. "I think he's strong enough and his desire to prove on Saturday that he wants to do good for his country will be crucial for us.
"I think you'll have to ask Eden about that."
If the first deflection doesn't work, hit them with the second.
The Belgians are careful with their words. So careful, in fact, that Jan Vertonghen claims Ireland are favourites for the game on Saturday. Even if Ladbrokes don't think the same.
"I think Ireland is a very good team," the country's left back said. "Almost all of them play in the Premier League. I think they're the favourites.
"I almost know every player, even on the bench and, in my opinion, Shane Long is the main guy. He is one of the best strikers in the Premier League. He plays well on the ground and has a strong head game. Hopefully we can stop him on Saturday."
That's Vertonghen's thoughts. And the views of the Belgian media are pretty similar too when it comes to Ireland's best player.
They know who to worry about. And it isn't Roy Keane.
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