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Keane Bhoyed by time at Hoops but ready to earn Spurs at Lane

WHEN YOU'VE had four senior clubs before your 21st birthday, maybe it's natural to get confused about your previous employers.

That's one explanation as to why Robbie Keane was thrown by a question about whether he watched his former club play a big game last Saturday.

The questioner was talking about the small matter of Inter Milan winning the European Cup for the first time in 35 years, the club where Keane had a six-month spell in 2000.

Keane even had personal links to this year's team as Javier Zanetti and Ivan Cordoba, who played with Keane at Inter, picked up winner's medals in Madrid on Saturday night -- but Keane was still confused.

"I thought you were talking about Crumlin (United) or something like that," Keane said when asked if he'd watched his old team play at the weekend.

But Keane insists that there is no confusion in his mind about his immediate future at club level. Kevin Doyle is ready for a summer of transfer speculation as bigger clubs like Arsenal decide whether to splash some cash for the Wexford man, and Caleb Folan and Leon Best have also been linked with moves away from their clubs, but Keane insists he is not for moving.

"I've got a three-year contract and I've to report back to pre-season training on July 5 and, unless other people tell me different, I'm a Tottenham player," said Keane, back at Tottenham after a spell on loan at Celtic.

"I have a big association with Tottenham and always will until the day I finish football. Of course, I understand why people are asking about my future, but I've got three years left on my deal.

Love playing football

"I love playing football. I'm not one of those people who likes sitting on the bench, picking up their money and I'm happy with that. I know plenty of people like that in football and I never understand it," he continues.

"I fully respect Liam Lawrence wanting to move on (from Stoke) because he wants to play football. When you're a kid growing up, you don't dream of playing bits and bobs of games. You don't want to train all week and then not play on a Saturday. The games are where you get real sharpness and fitness.

"Harry (Redknapp) told me to enjoy my time at Celtic. He knows what I'm like, knows my personality and he fully respects that.

"Look, it's very simple, lads. I'm going back to Tottenham unless someone tells me different. I want to get back into the team," added Keane, who admitted that the loan spell in Scotland has revived him.

"I was in a bit of a rut at Liverpool, and then going back to Tottenham," said Keane.


"I did well at first, but I didn't have that hunger. Maybe I needed to go away to get that back.

"It's got nothing to do with Paris, maybe just a lack of confidence, going from Liverpool and back to Tottenham.

"As a player you sometimes lose confidence, and I lost confidence as a player, so I hope going to Celtic is the best thing that has happened to me."

Keane's form for Ireland has been criticised at times but one thing which can never be questioned is his dedication to the national team. There is no such thing as a "meaningless friendly" in the book of Keane, or Damien Duff for that matter.

The pair will start for Ireland at the RDS tonight, Keane winning his 98th cap, which means he's on course to break the 100-cap mark against Argentina in August.

"As players you always enjoy playing for your country, whether I am old or young that will never change," said Keane.

"I always enjoy playing for Ireland, coming back and seeing the lads, and I treat every game the same, with the same mentality I have for every game."