UAE could well be for­mer Liver­pool star Keane’s next des­ti­na­tion

The National - News - - SPORT FOOTBALL - JOHN McAU­LEY

For­mer Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and Liver­pool for­ward Rob­bie Keane has yet to de­cide whether to hang up his boots or move into coach­ing – and has not ruled out UAE foot­ball as a po­ten­tial next des­ti­na­tion.

The well-trav­elled Ir­ish­man has been spend­ing time in Dubai fol­low­ing a sea­son in the In­dian Super League with Kolkata side Atletico de Kolkata, his fi­nal three matches as player-man­ager.

On Sun­day, Keane par­tic­i­pated in Hublot’s lat­est “Match of Friend­ship” in the shadow of the Burj Khal­ifa. Speak­ing af­ter­wards, the Repub­lic of Ire­land’s all­time lead­ing scorer said he planned to use the down­time to eval­u­ate his ca­reer.

“I’m go­ing to take a few weeks off, have a break and de­cide what I want to do, whether I carry on play­ing, which is an op­tion,” Keane, 37, said. “I could eas­ily play for an­other cou­ple of years, or I could start go­ing down the coach­ing role.

“As I said, I’ll take a bit of time to con­sider and then we’ll see. But by no means will I be sit­ting idle. It’s just see­ing my op­tions. I fin­ished in In­dia, had nine starts, nine goals so I def­i­nitely have an­other good year, two years left in me scor­ing a few goals. There’s no ques­tion about that.

“For me, it’s just about the right op­por­tu­ni­ties. There’s al­ways op­tions, but we’ll see.”

Keane said he had a good stint in terms of the ex­pe­ri­ence and learn­ing go­ing for­ward to be a coach. “That’s some­thing I’ve been very clear about, that I want to get into in the fu­ture,” he said.

“Whether or not it’ll be next year or the year af­ter, who knows? But if a good op­por­tu­nity came up in terms of coach­ing, I’d have to sit down and se­ri­ously con­sider it.

“For me, it’s about learn­ing. It’s not about jump­ing into some­thing and then re­gret­ting af­ter. A man­ager’s ca­reer could be 30 years, so I’ve got time. I’m not in any rush to jump into any­thing that go­ing to maybe set me up for fail­ure or be­cause it may sound at­trac­tive, but is not the right one for me.”

Keane, who has scored close to 400 se­nior goals in a ca­reer span­ning 20 years, said he would look at of­fers both in Asia and Europe. A reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to Dubai, he spent a brief time last year train­ing with Ara­bian Gulf League club Al Ahli and was im­pressed by both the stan­dard of player and the fa­cil­i­ties.

“Fan­tas­tic,” he said. “I’ve been com­ing here for 12 years. It’s a place I’m very, very close to. It’s cer­tainly very at­trac­tive in terms of the peo­ple, the good stan­dard of liv­ing for my fam­ily also. Train­ing with Al Ahli was great; I met a good few peo­ple. I re­ally en­joyed it, so who knows?”

Keane at­tended Thurs­day’s Pres­i­dent’s Cup quar­ter-fi­nal be­tween Fu­jairah and Al Ain on in­vi­ta­tion from Fu­jairah man­ager Diego Maradona.

Asked if he could con­sider ex­tend­ing his play­ing ca­reer in the UAE, he said he “would never say never”.

“It’s cer­tainly some­thing that would in­ter­est me, of course. I al­ways keep my op­tions open.

“As I said, it’s a place I’m very, very used to,” he said.

“I got in­vited to go along by Diego to watch the game. It was good to see him and he in­vited me for din­ner. We’ll see what the fu­ture holds.”

I could eas­ily play for an­other cou­ple of years, or I could start go­ing down the coach­ing role. By no means will I be sit­ting idle ROB­BIE KEANE

Anna Nielsen For The Na­tional

Rob­bie Keane, a reg­u­lar in Dubai, played for Marcelo Lippi XI vs Pele XI in a Match of Friend­ship

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.