CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane is a pure competitor, pure and simple, so it was no surprise that less than 48 hours after arriving in Southern California, the Irish forward was back in action for the LA Galaxy—and scoring goals no less.
In his first day of preseason training after a ten day training stint with his former club Tottenham Hotspur, Keane started and scored a penalty kick goal in LA’s 5-0 preseason win over the U.S. Under-17 National Team.
Highlights: LA vs U.S. U-17's
While other players may have opted to take it easy after completing a transcontinental flight, Keane had no doubt in his mind that he was going to return to the field on Friday.
“Of course, that’s what you get paid to do, to play football, so might as well get straight into it,” Keane told reporters. “That’s where you’re going to get your fitness and your match sharpness and it saves you from running around the pitch for 20 minutes which is boring. I like to get out there playing.”
The offseason break was the first full one for Keane in “13 years” according to the Irish International, who was able to shake off a few injury “niggles” like a tender Achilles that plagued him late in the season.
Keane will now look to regain his stellar form of a year ago as he integrates himself with the Galaxy, who are heading into their third full week of preseason training. In 2012, Keane quickly established himself as the Galaxy’s number one option in attack by leading the club in goals with 23 in all competitions to go along with 10 assists.
“He's going to need some work, obviously,” Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said of Keane’s fitness. “I think Robbie would probably admit he needs some time. So the next three weeks are going to be important for him.”
He may still have a ways to go in achieving full fitness ahead of the club’s March 3 regular season opener against the Chicago Fire, but the Irishman was grateful for the opportunity to train with his former club.
“It was nice, I was very grateful to [manager Andre Villas Boas] for letting me train with the guys for 10 days. It was nice and intense after having six weeks off,” said Keane. “I enjoyed it and they have a new training ground there which is one of the best in the world. It was also nice to see the players because 90 percent of the players and staff are still there from when I was there.”
A training stint at his former club wasn’t the only bit of excitement for Keane this offseason as he inked a multi-year contract extension in January that will keep him at The Home Depot Center. When presented with the opportunity to do so from the Galaxy brass, Keane jumped at the opportunity.
“I was happy enough to sign. I’m quite happy here so there’s no reason why I wouldn’t,” said Keane. “It got done and I look forward to a couple more years.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com