IRELAND captain Robbie Keane hopes to be back in full training in the New Year after he underwent surgery in London on a long-standing Achilles problem.
Keane had a superb year in 2013, scoring seven goals in the year for Ireland and also earning a place on a three-man shortlist for the Most Valuable Player in the MLS.
But Keane admitted before last week's friendly with Poland that he was bothered by an Achilles injury and needed an operation to get it sorted.
The 33-year-old went through surgery at a specialist clinic in London yesterday, overseen by world-renowned expert Hakan Alfredson, and it's thought that the operation was a success.
Keane will now return to his native Dublin for his rehab programme, which will be overseen by FAI doctor Alan Byrne, and he should be fit enough to get back to training within six weeks.
That would allow Keane complete the other task of his winter break as he had planned to begin work on his coaching badges on an FAI-run course in Dublin in January.
Keane played and scored in the 3-0 win over Latvia two weeks ago but he sat out the game against Poland in Poznan as he was struggling with the Achilles injury.
LA Galaxy will want to have Keane back for pre-season training in the New Year although their league season does not start until March 8th. Earlier that week Ireland play the first game of 2014, a friendly at home to Serbia.