LOAN JUST THE JOB FOR ROB Keane fit and firing after Villa stint
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND v CZECH REPUBLIC Live on Sky Sports 1 – 7.45pm
ROBBIE KEANE claims his spell at Aston Villa has given him a new lease of life – but has ruled out a permanent switch back to the Premier League.
Keane moved to LA Galaxy last year and went on loan to Villa during the MLS offseason.
He claims his two-month stay in the Midlands has made him as sharp as he’s been for years as he prepares for his and Ireland’s first major tournament since 2002.
Skipper Keane said: “It couldn’t have worked out better for me in terms of keeping fit and playing games. You want to play every week – every player wants that. I’m not one of these players who can just sit on the bench and pick up money.
“I really enjoyed it at Villa and the last few months have been really good for me.”
Keane insists he’ll stick with the bright lights of LA for the forseeable future, adding: “I enjoyed my spell at Villa, but I don’t have any unfinished business with the Premier League. I’ve scored more than 100 goals in the Premier League so I don’t have anything to prove to anybody.”
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni plays Keane just behind either Shane Long or Jonathan Walters and the skipper is glad he’s in the role he’s used to at club level.
He said: “The position I’m in now is the one I’m used to. It’s the position I’ve played in for most of my career, certainly in England.
“I enjoy playing in that deeper role. That was the case at Villa and also at Tottenham, just off Dimitar Berbatov.”
Trappatoni is sticking with the squad that got his side to Euro 2012, but revealed new boys James Mcclean and Shane Duffy will come on against the Czech Republic tonight.
He said: “This is a test for my squad. It is the last opportunity to consolidate our squad’s spirit.
“We want to show we believe in the players who got us here.
“I’m sure the squad all know and understand what an opportunity this is, because it is a great opportunity for our national team.”
MAN WITH THE PLAN: Trapattoni looks set
to start Robbie Keane just off his main striker