New star Robbie shines in Galaxy far, far away
Beckham welcomes Keane to LA, writes Patricia Danaher
Published 20/08/2011 | 05:00
BACON, cabbage and some boiled potatoes to eat, and no sign of the sun: Robbie Keane surely won't find it too difficult to settle in LA.
The Ireland star was greeted with a menu in his honour after his first day of training with LA Galaxy yesterday. But he preferred to chew the fat on his latest 'home' -- and perhaps his most unlikely destination since he moved to Inter Milan as a teenager.
"It's been a hectic six or seven days since I got the call early on Friday morning from a representative of LA Galaxy and straight away I told my people to make sure it happened," the 31-year-old said.
"It was one of the quickest deals that's ever taken place and I'm very happy to be here and hope I'll bring the club a lot of success.
On continuing to play for Ireland, he said: "I had a text this week from Trapattoni, but I didn't have a chance to get back to him," he said.
"Throughout my career I've always been committed to Ireland and that won't change unless the manager of Ireland tells me different."
Keane will return to Europe to play Ireland's next two European Cup qualifying matches next month.
And he responded to criticism over the move, saying: "In football you're always going to get criticized, but I'm not going to respond to what other people say. I'm just going to try to play well and score goals.
And he denied reports that he had been in contact with Championship club Leicester over a possible move.
The Irish Honorary Consul, Finbar Hill, welcomed Keane to the city in Irish and handed him a pin with the Irish and US flags at the press conference.
The biggest name in US football also had a warm welcome for the former Spurs star, calling him "a world class player".
Asked what part he had played in convincing Keane to switch to Los Angeles when he trained with Spurs earlier this year, Beckham said: "Many players ask me about the league, our club, our players, our franchise, and I always speak the truth: It's a great league, we've got great players and a great manager."
So did Keane receive any advice on moving from the Beckhams? Beckham gave an impish grin and refused to answer -- or to reveal when Robbie and Claudine can call in on Tom Cruise. "All David and I ever talk about is football," Keane insisted.
Green, white and orange balloons flew over the Home Depot Centre in Carson, Galaxy's home ground, as Keane arrived.
He had earlier looked relaxed during a training session, less than 24 hours after he and Claudine arrived in California.
He posed for photos with a group of under-12 boys who had been invited to watch training.
A cluster of very California girls in their 20s, with straight long blond hair and dressed in short shorts were also on the sideline. But it was an uncharacteristically cloudy day in southern California, prompting some murmurs that the Ireland captain had brought the weather with him.
The welcome from 'The Los Angeles Times' was warmer.
It ran a half-page colour advertisement with a photo of a jubilant Keane on its sports pages, saying: "Welcome to LA".
Speculation about where the Keanes will live is rife, with most money being on them moving in close to the Beckhams in Beverly Hills.
Claudine was nowhere near the training session yesterday but she is expected to turn out for her husband's debut tonight.
As they arrived at the airport on Thursday, all Robbie Keane would say was: "I hope they'll throw me in the deep end and let me show what I can do."
While Keane will be under a certain amount of pressure to perform, it won't be anything like the pressure that Beckham has been under since he arrived two years ago.
His fellow team mate Todd Dunivant told the Irish Independent: "Robbie is world class, but we're not expecting him to perform miracles."
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena confirmed he plans to use Keane in some capacity this weekend, however. "We'll be smart about it," he said. "We know about the travel and we'll make a decision before game time. I think you can expect he'll be on the field though."
claudine keane uncovered: see review