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Keane out to add goal-scoring records to his CV

NIALL QUINN tells a story of how a young kid called Robbie Keane came into the Ireland squad for the first time and immediately set about breaking targets set by his predecessors such as Quinn, John Aldridge and Frank Stapleton.

Now, 12 years, 99 caps and 43 international goals further down the road, Keane has another target in sight -- breaking the lofty position of footballers such as Gary Lineker in the all-time goal-scoring charts.

Keane international goals tally is not too far behind the likes of Bobby Charlton (49), Lineker (48) and even Ireland's nemesis Thierry Henry (51). And that's next on the list -- after he wins his 100th cap tonight, of course.

"Every Irish fan keeps mentioning that record to me, and of course it would great to beat it," said Keane.

"I certainly feel I've a few more goals and caps left in me, so it would be a great achievement. But more than that I want to help us qualify for the European Championship.

"If you look at the games we've been involved in, we've come very close on occasion, but we've made mistakes or we just didn't have that bit of luck we needed.

"I certainly feel we should have been involved in more tournaments than we have recently," added the Tottenham Hotspur striker.


At times criticised for his international contributions, Keane's dedication to the green jersey can never be questioned.

He is one of those few international strikers who does not consider friendly games to be beneath him, as he and Ireland team-mates such as Damien Duff, Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane turn up for international duty whenever they are fit -- and even when they're not fit, in the case of Duff who famously travelled to Slovakia as a punter to see Ireland play even though he was injured.

"I still have that buzz and enthusiasm for the game. I always want to play for my country," said Keane.

"You've all known for many years, I've never pulled out of squads for any reason.

"But I love playing for my country, I love coming back, and I don't think that will ever change.

"It's hard to believe, though, it'll be my 100th cap. For years I didn't think about how many I might win.

"But as it has drawn closer then it has obviously been more and more in my sights.

"I know I'm very fortunate to have reached 100 caps, but hopefully there will be a few more to come after.

"So I'm really looking forward to the occasion, particularly as my little lad (15-month-old Robbie) is going to be the mascot.

"That's great for me. Having him on the pitch with me will make it an even more special occasion."