ROBBIE KEANE believed Ireland's international football future was bleak after Euro 2012 – but the last few weeks have filled him full of optimism for the road ahead.
Ready to lead out Ireland against Spain at Yankee Stadium tonight (1.0am Irish time), Keane admitted that he lost hope.
"A year or two ago I didn't see a future, if I'm being totally honest. But I do sense it now. We've seen people like Jeff Hendrick, James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman burst onto the scene. I certainly think the future is looking bright after seeing the younger lads in the last two weeks step up to the plate.
"These players have grown. The manager keeps going on about personality - they are starting to come out of themselves."
Keane has never been to Yankee Stadium and is looking forward to the experience, even if it is likely to be a very wet night in the Bronx. Heavy rain and thunderstorms are predicted.
"I have never been to the Yankee Stadium but I am certainly looking forward to it. It's an historic stadium. It's obviously not known for football, but it's a great, great stadium."