Robbie Keane has declared that he will walk away from international football if he is dropped by Giovanni Trapattoni.
The Irish skipper yesterday brushed away the suggestion that he moved to West Ham because he was afraid of losing his place in the international team.
With Keane out of favour at Spurs, Ireland manager Trapattoni last week warned that he might drop his skipper if he was short of match sharpness ahead of future Euro 2012 qualifiers.
Shane Long's blistering run of form for Reading has provided competition for places in the forward department.
However, Keane made his position clear as he was unveiled by his new employers, asserting that if the 71-year-old consigned him to the sidelines then he would step away from his Irish career and leave the new generation to it.
"I have not really worried or thought about my position with the Ireland team," said Keane, ahead of tonight's trip to Blackpool.
"It is all about now and I've said before if I didn't play for Ireland and someone else came in, I have always said I would walk away."
Ireland's 2011 kicks off with the visit of Wales to Dublin for the Carling Nations Cup next week but, before then, Keane has crucial relegation battles to worry about.
He has joined West Ham on loan, but the deal should become permanent if bottom-of-the-table Hammers avoid relegation, and the 30-year-old is glad just to be involved again after a difficult period in the background at Spurs.
"It was not a wrench to leave, because at the end of the day, I just want to play football. It is a short career, you have to make the most of it. I want to play football and don't like to get paid for sitting on the bench," he said.
Meanwhile, Long has emerged as a doubt for next week's game against Wales after limping off in Reading's Championship clash with Cardiff last night.