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ROBBIE KEANE SENT a simple but clear message to Giovanni Trapattoni last night — I’m ready.
With just five days to go until the Republic of Ireland’s crunch play-off against Estonia, the striker put any lingering doubts about his fitness to bed, playing 90 minutes and wrapping up the LA Galaxy’s 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake with a brilliantly-taken goal.
It was Keane’s clinical break on 68 minutes which sealed up the Western Conference decider and booked LA’s place in the MLS Cup final, setting up a meeting with the Houston Dynamo on 20 November.
But before that, Keane has the little matter of qualification for next summer’s European Championships to worry about. The captain, who missed Ireland’s final group game with an adductor strain, flies back to Dublin today to join his international team-mates ahead of the trip to Tallinn.
And he insisted last night that he’s ready to lead the line on Friday.
“We haven’t qualified for the European Championships for the last 20 years or so. It’s going to be a big occasion,” he said. “Seeing everyone back home, I know everyone’s looking forward to it.
“Of course I’m just happy to be back fit and I look forward to the games.”
I’ve only been back. This is three games in a week for me and it’s hard, I’ve been out for three-and-a-half weeks. But I will say, in three games you get your sharpness. And today I felt a lot sharper than I have in the last two games.
“So, I have two more games to look forward to with the Republic of Ireland, that’ll be five games in two weeks. It’s going to be tough but I’m looking forward to it.”