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Dublin: 8 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

'I might look back in years to come and say 'I did okay for a Tallaght lad'' - Keane

The Ireland striker equalled Shay Given’s record for most Ireland caps and scored his 55th and 56th international goals against Georgia.

Keane celebrates yesterday.
Keane celebrates yesterday.
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

WITH HIS TWO goals last night, Robbie Keane overtook Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o and is now level with Argentina legend Gabriel ‘Batigol’ Batistuta on 15th in the all-time international top scorers chart.

It wasn’t the only milestone for the Ireland striker  as his substitute appearance in the 4-0 win earned him a 125th cap meaning he is now level with Ireland’s record holder Shay Given.

Some may argue that Keane is past his best and shouldn’t be first choice anymore but his commitment to the team has never been in question. The 32-year-0ld was initially due to miss the England and Georgia friendlies due to a clash of fixtures with his club LA Galaxy but persuaded them to do a U-turn and release him.

Reflecting on the achievements, Keane says that while it is a great honour, right now he is concentrating on the present.

“I’m not one of these to dwell on things too much,” Keane said. “I might look back in years to come and say ‘I did okay for a Tallaght lad’.

“As a striker you’re judged on scoring goals. I’m happy with getting the two goals but most importantly it was the performance.

“I know they had ten men and by the letter of the law it’s the right decision but being a friendly game the referee probably could have left it.  It would have been a better test for us but in saying that that’s exactly how the Faroes are going to play.

They’re going to sit back like Georgia did for 70 minutes so that’s something that will help us for the Faroes game. Being able to keep the ball, the movement, trying to get into little pockets, which we certainly did, will hopefully stand to us on Friday.

“We should have got the ball moving a little bit quicker in the first half as sometimes we were slow but the pitch was a bit dry so I asked them to water it at half-time and they did.  It’s a good learning curve for some of the players and I thought they did well.”

Starting in mifield, Wes Hoolahan’s vision and passing ability were there for everyone to see. It is unlikely that Giovanni Trapattoni will pick him for Friday’s qualifier with the Faroe Islands but Keane thinks the game is made for a player with his qualities.

“He suits me perfect. I like to get in the hole and Wes is one of these players who likes to play it around corners and little one-twos. You saw that in the second half the way we linked up.

“That’s something that we have to look at against the Faroes because they’re going to sit back and we’ll have a lot more possession of the ball. It’s a good weapon to have. It is the perfect game for him.”

Keane also gave a brief mention to Hull City midfielder Stephen Quinn, who made his senior debut at the age of 27.

“Stephen with his first cap – delighted for him. He’s a family friend as I am a good friend of (his brother and former Ireland international) Alan’s. All of his family were here so it was great to see him get on.”

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Ben Blake

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