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'It's the same pressure I've had since I was 17' - Keane returns for Ireland

The LA Galaxy striker is back in Martin O’Neill’s squad ahead of the Costa Rica clash.

Keane celebrates with Aiden McGeady during his most recent international appearance, against Latvia.
Keane celebrates with Aiden McGeady during his most recent international appearance, against Latvia.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ROBBIE KEANE SAYS he is embracing the pressure of providing goals for Ireland on his return to the international fray after missing the last four games.

With the 33-year-old absent against Poland, Serbia, Turkey and Italy, Martin O’Neill’s side managed to score just twice, even if there were positive signs in attack against the Italians.

Speaking after re-joining the Ireland set-up in the US ahead of tomorrow night’s [Saturday morning at 1.00am Irish time] friendly against Costa Rica at the PPL Stadium in Philadelphia, Keane brushed aside suggestions that the pressure would bear heavily on him.

“Well it’s the same pressure as I’ve had since I was 17, so that will never change. I’m going to put pressure on myself, more than probably you guys [the media] do,” said the LA Galaxy striker.

My job is to score goals and listen, it doesn’t matter if I score goals or if it’s Longy [Shane Long] or Wes [Hoolahan] or whoever it is among the other strikers. The important thing is winning games and certainly if we can score more goals than the opposition then we have a good chance.”

Keane is confident that Ireland’s attacking options, including himself, have enough quality to be more clinical in front of goal, and also stressed that the fact that his teammates have been creating chances is a major positive.

“We’ve got strikers in the squad who are quite capable of scoring. I know there’s been talk about that but as long as players are getting the opportunities, that’s always good. Of course at the end you want to finish them and if I can help to contribute towards that, then great.”

Martin O'Neill with Robbie Keane Keane with Martin O'Neill in New Jersey today. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Watching Ireland from his home in the States has been a strange experience for Keane, whose international record includes 62 goals in 131 caps. The Dubliner admitted that he would prefer to play as many fixtures as possible.

“Yeah of course you want to be involved in every game but under different circumstances. That hasn’t been the case but I’m not going to worry too much about it.

It’s an opportunity as the gaffer said to give other people the opportunity to get games and I think that’s very important. We have a good squad of players and it’s only right that people get an opportunity to see what they can do.

“Of course you miss it, you certainly do, but I knew what the case was. I was going to come in for the two games and I’m excited to be here.”

Keane and Ireland face World Cup-bound Costa Rica at the PPL Stadium in Philadelphia at 1.00am Irish time on Saturday.

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