With Ireland playing Scotland at Celtic Park tonight in a crucial Euro 2016 qualifier we look back at the magnificent career Keane has had since he first lined out as a teenager for Wolves.
Currently playing his football at MLS side LA Galaxy, Robbie Keane is showing top form for his side in the states, which was seen in their 5-0 win over Real Salt Lake this week. Keane managed to set up three goals and score one himself to help his side progress further in their MLS season.
Robbie Keane’s teammate Landon Donovan spoke about Keane after their 5-0 win by saying,
“He was Robbie tonight, he hit two fantastic passes to me, scored a great goal and he was a nightmare to defend all night.”
It would have been nostalgic for any Premier League fan that would have seen the fine form that Keane produced on the night as he once used to produce that kind of form in English football.
Keane had many stints in English football as he began at Wolves and then went on to play for Coventry City, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and then had a short loan spell at West Ham United before heading to the United States of America and then returned to England for a short loan spell at Aston Villa.
In total, Keane managed to score an impressive 126 Premier League goals in 349 Premier League appearances and he currently stands as the 12th highest goal scorer in Premier League history.
Robbie Keane was born on the 8th of July 1980 in Dublin and he began his football career as a youngster by playing for Crumlin United F.C. Many scouts from England travelled to Dublin to see Keane and he was offered a chance to play for the youth sides at Liverpool and Wolves.
Keane opted for Wolves over Liverpool as he thought that he would have a better opportunity to break into the Wolves’ first team rather than struggle to break into the first side of Premier League giants Liverpool. Keane progressed through the ranks of Wolves and eventually made his first team debut for Wolves at the tender age of 17.
Although, this didn’t stop Keane from becoming Wolves’ top goal scorer in the 1998/99 season, which only attracted attention from Premier League sides and he moved onto Coventry City for £6million in the summer of 1999, which was a British record fee for a teenager.
Robbie Keane got off to a great start at Coventry City as he scored twice in his debut in a win over Derby County. Keane managed to become one of Coventry’s most important players alongside the likes of Gary McAllister in a season where they managed to finish 14th.
Keane finished the season with 12 league goals in 31 appearances and a shocking move to Inter Milan was next for the Irish striker. Inter signed Keane for a £13million and Marcello Lippi was excited to bring the youngster to Italy but he was later sacked and new Inter boss Marco Tardelli made Keane surplus to requirements, which meant he was loaned to Leeds United in December 2000.
Keane’s Leeds career got off to an amazing start as he scored nine times in his first 14 games for the club in a season where they managed to finish 4th in the Premier League. This was enough to convince David O’ Leary to sign the striker on a permanent deal as Leeds had a £12million bid accepted by Inter Milan.
Keane’s permanent deal at Leeds didn’t get off to a great start as his form suffered and he only managed to score three times in the league in 25 appearances as Leeds finished 5th.
Keane’s highlight of the 2001/02 season came when he scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 win over Leicester City in the League Cup. It began to go south for Leeds United sunk into further debt and were left with no option but to sell their star players including Keane who was sold to Tottenham Hotspur for £7million.
Glenn Hoddle claimed on Keane’s arrival that,
“Keane can make White Hart Lane his spiritual home for many years.”
Keane responded positively to this warm welcome as he put on an impressive display on his debut as he won a penalty in a 3-2 win over West Ham United. Keane then went on to score his first goal for Tottenham in a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers as he became the new hero of White Hart Lane.
Keane finished the season as Tottenham’s top scorer in a season where they finished 10th in the league. Tottenham had a battle with relegation for the majority of the 2003/04 season but it was Keane’s 14 league goals that assisted in their survival as they finished in 14th place.
These 14 goals included a hat-trick against former club Wolves and a last minute equaliser in the North London derby against Arsenal. The 2004/05 season began as a frustrating one for Keane as he faced competition in the Tottenham side from fellow strikers Defoe, Kanoute and Mido.
Keane’s frustration was witnessed when he stormed out of the dug out because he was an unused substitute in a game against Birmingham. Tottenham were furious with Keane’s behaviour and fined the player £10,000. Keane still managed to hit double figures in the league as he managed to net eleven times in a season where Tottenham finished 9th in the league.
Keane began the 2005/06 season on the Tottenham bench as Mido and Jermain Defoe were the preferred strike force but Martin Jol gave Keane a chance when Defoe’s form began to slip. Keane didn’t waste this opportunity and ended the season as Tottenham’s top scorer with 16 league goals and he was also the fourth highest goal scorer in the Premier League as Tottenham finished 5th.
The 2006/07 season opened with a slow start for Keane as he picked up a knee ligament injury but he came back and struck up a partnership with Dimitar Berbatov. This strike force was awarded a joint Player of the Month award in April 2007. Tottenham finished 5th again as Keane netted eleven times in the league.
Tottenham dropped down to 11th in the 2007/08 season but Keane managed to net 15 times in 36 league appearances, which proved his worth to Tottenham. On the 26th of December, Keane became the 13th player to score over 100 goals in the Premier League and he subsequently lifted the League Cup when Tottenham beat Chelsea 2-1 in the final.
Keane’s total statistics for the season were outstanding as he scored 31 goals and made 13 assists in 40 starts in all competitions which only helped to attract the attention of Premier League giants Liverpool.
Liverpool signed Robbie Keane for £20.3million in the summer of 2008 and the Irish striker was only delighted to sign for the Merseyside club as he stated,
“I’ve been a Liverpool fan all my life so to be here now as a Liverpool player is incredible.”
Keane was then handed the iconic number 7 shirt and was given the opportunity to partner Fernando Torres in the Liverpool strike force. It wasn’t to be for Keane at Liverpool though as he only managed to net five times in 19 league starts and was sold back to Tottenham after only half a season at Anfield.
Keane returned to Tottenham after they had a £16million fee accepted by Liverpool and Keane signed a four year deal at the London club. Keane only managed to score five times in the league from January to May as Tottenham finished 8th in the league. It didn’t really improve for Keane in the 2009/10 season as he only scored six goals in 20 appearances before being loaned to Celtic for the second half of the season where he was a real hit with the Hoops’ fans.
Keane didn’t sign for Celtic on a permanent basis and returned to White Hart Lane for a short stint before being loaned to struggling Premier League side West Ham United. Keane scored on his West Ham debut in a 3-1 win over Blackburn but his two goals in nine appearances wasn’t enough as West Ham were relegated and he once again returned to Tottenham.
In 2011, Robbie Keane agreed to join MLS side LA Galaxy which led to a two-month loan deal to Premier League side Aston Villa in 2012. Keane made an instant impact as he scored twice in a 3-2 win over former club Wolves on his full debut for Villa.
Robbie Keane then put his name down in history by scoring against Newcastle United which made him the 11th highest goal scorer in Premier League history (he is now currently the 12th highest goalscorer in Premier League history). Keane is also the highest scoring international player still playing the game today with an amazing 65 goals.
Sarah Fitzpatrick, Pundit Arena