Robbie Keane targets ‘one last adventure abroad’
‘It’s knowing that you still have a good couple of years left in you playing and scoring goals’
Robbie Keane is hoping to have a new club sorted out by July. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho
Far from warming to the downtime he is savouring at present after 20 relentless years in professional football, Robbie Keane has designs on getting back on the pitch soon and indicated he could still be playing approaching his 40th birthday.
The Dubliner has been back in Dublin since November when his spell in the United States with LA Galaxy ended and, while there were an array of offers in January from clubs in the Australian and Chinese leagues, none of the approaches constituted the “one last adventure abroad” he is seeking.
The Republic of Ireland’s record goalscorer turns 37 in July, by which stage he says his immediate future will be settled. It may be the case that the new assignment facilitates his progression into a coaching career.
“Whether it’s one year or a few more, I’ll be back playing for a club soon,” said Keane.
“I’m lucky enough that I’ve got an opportunity there to sit back, assess the whole situation and pick the right one for me and the family.
“It’s knowing that you still have a good couple of years left in you playing and scoring goals. I certainly feel like that at this moment of time.
“I’ve had a fantastic number of years playing but, when you love football and enjoy it, that stays with me. As soon as that stops, then I’ll stop playing.
“I’ve been training every day, doing a lot of work with the FAI fitness coaches and Stephen McPhail at Shamrock Rovers, so it’s not like I’m not fit. Most of the leagues will be going into pre-season over the summer when the transfer window is open, which is good for me.”
The temptation to break his sabbatical by signing for Rovers was a non-runner, though he doesn’t rule out undertaking a swansong once his globetrotting finishes. By that time, he reckons, the most famous club in Ireland will have overcome some of the teething problems which are already attracting questions about the future of manager Stephen Bradley.
“I can see it for myself that Rovers are trying to do the right thing and will come out of the transition period,”said Keane.
“You always want clubs to give young players and a young manager opportunities. They have a great manager in Bradser.
“Rovers won’t win the league this season of course with Cork City so far ahead but they should be looking for success next year. Let’s give them the opportunity, the chance to cement what they want to achieve there. Looking at it from the inside, Rovers are going in the right direction.”
*Aer Lingus ambassador Robbie Keane was at Dublin Airport to launch their North American sale.