Sport Soccer

Monday 18 December 2017

Robbie: 'I have the same desire to play for Ireland now as I had at 17'

Having been involved in it several times, Robbie Keane says he had no interest in
watching how transfer deadline day unfolded
Having been involved in it several times, Robbie Keane says he had no interest in watching how transfer deadline day unfolded
David Kelly

David Kelly

As Robbie Keane lay on his hotel bed on Wednesday evening, the increasingly theatrical shrieks from Sky Sports' satirist-in-chief, Jim White, barely caused a fluttered eyebrow.

Keane and Transfer Deadline Day -- the capital letters are, presumably, mandatory -- were once inextricably linked; not any more.

Keane's flight from the Premier League circus to the Hollywood Hills has closed the curtains on these windows for all time. Not that he ever seemed to fret about his name being connected with Bolton Wanderers.

"I didn't worry anyway when it was on before," he says stridently. "I enjoyed watching it, all the last-minute deals, some of which I've been involved with myself. It was good fun to watch. But I'm finished with all that now."

Still, at least removing the angst caused by Harry Redknapp's vacillating perceptions of his value to Spurs must have been a relief? Again, he demurs.

"It never worried me before," he says of his latter-day, splinter-gathering Spurs career. "I never worried about stuff like that."

Having acquired "a 100pc" assurance from LA Galaxy, his new employers, that his unswerving commitment to Ireland remains his priority, Keane acknowledges that performing regularly will benefit both player and country.

"The opportunity just came up," he replies, when asked what had altered his perception of a career move upon which he had previously poured more than a little scorn. "Things change. I didn't think the opportunity would come at this stage. It did though and I was quite happy with everything.

"In the last year, I've thought about it privately. I've been to America on plenty of occasions and really enjoyed it. So when the opportunity came, it was just at the right time for me."

It is clear that Keane perceives the benefit of playing regular football (at however demeaning a level for one of the Premier League's historically most economical goalscorers) far outweighs the uncertainty of waiting to see if one's name is on the starting team-sheet each week.


"As long as I'm playing," he insists. "For the last 18 months, I haven't been playing on a regular basis for my club but I was still producing for my country. If I'm still playing and getting 90 minutes once or twice a week, it can only be beneficial for me.

"It's very early days. I've hardly trained with the lads. Ask how it really is in a month's time and I should be able to tell you.

"They're good players and they're top of the league. I can't really remember the game when I scored! It happened so quickly, I was off the plane and immediately playing. It's a great club, they've been tremendous, the training ground is fantastic. I've enjoyed it."

Keane revealed that he hadn't yet discussed the potential option of arranging a loan move to Europe, as his new team-mate David Beckham has done for the majority of his Stateside stint, albeit it would be unusual for his advisors not to have allowed for such a temporary parachute.

At the moment, all he is concerned about is his Ireland career, and the immediate goal of securing a favourable position in his country's Euro 2012 qualifying group.

"The feelings are high that we have a real chance of qualifying from the group," he stresses. "If you look at where the teams are, we're up there and that's the most important thing.

"These two games are going to be massive in the next few days. It's important to get maximum points; if not then not lose either game. These games will dictate whether we qualify or not.

"I've changed clubs and I'm happy to keep doing what I've been doing for my country. That's not going to change just because I'm 10 hours further away on a flight.

"It certainly won't change my desire to play for my country. I have the same desire now that I had at 17, the same commitment. It's no difference.

"I'll just continue what I've been doing for the last 10 years for Ireland: score goals. My record speaks for itself and in the last two years I've scored a lot of goals. I just want to continue doing what I do best, score goals for Ireland."

Lansdowne Road is the only address than matters this week, not Hollywood Boulevard.

"It's not really too good living in LA," he smiles. And has he met Brangelina yet? "No, but I'll tell you when I do."

For now, Keane has far more important matters to attend to.

Irish Independent

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