CARSON, Calif. – When the LA Galaxy take the field against the Chicago Fire on Sunday, they’ll have a new captain for the first time since the 2009 season as Robbie Keane takes over for Landon Donovan.
Keane’s teammates admitted earlier in the week, however, that little change is expected with the Irishman taking possession of the armband for good. The 32-year-old forward has served as the club's vice-captain since the start of the 2012 season and he vows that he'll remain the same type of leader now that he is the face of the franchise.
“Listen, if I can help the franchise and help this team win games and win championships for me, that’s important. Everything else will take care of itself,” said Keane. “I’m not one of those people that goes home and really thinks too much [about] being on billboards and stuff like that. I’ve been playing for a long time and I know that it is all part of what you do. It’s something that you just take it on board and that’s it.”
When asked to describe his leadership style, Keane admits that he’ll bring plenty of his trademark candor to the role of Galaxy captain.
“It’s about being a leader on the pitch and off the pitch. It’s important to tell people if they’re not doing the job and without being captain, I’m that person anyways. I like people around me to do better and be better. I only do it to help the team and help the players around me become better players,” said Keane. “For me, the most important thing is that people respect you and look up to you. I’m not one of those these people that will go behind people’s backs, if I’ve got something to say then I will say it straight to their face. If you don’t like it, I don’t really give a [expletive] to be honest with you.
“I’ve been in teams since I was 17 that had a lot of big players who gave me bollocks for a few years and it made me a lot stronger and the player that I am now,” added Keane. “You learn [a lot from] these experienced players so if I can help the players then great.”
One place that Keane will certainly help the Galaxy in 2013 will be on the scoresheet as he looks to repeat his impressive goal tally of 23 goals in 37 games across all competitions last season. Although Keane serves as the primary weapon in the Galaxy offense, the Irishman insists LA are not a one man show. And to prove his point, he looks back at the current situation at his previous club Tottenham Hotspur.
“People are talking about [Tottenham Hotspur left winger] Gareth Bale being a one-man team but even though he’s on fire, he’s got [good] players around him,” said Keane. “I think for me, without the other teammates giving me the chances to score goals, I wouldn’t be half the player that I am.”
As a player and a captain, results take precedent for Keane, but the Irishman hopes that his blunt leadership pays dividends for his teammates.
“They have to get on board,” said Keane. “You’re not doing it to disrespect anybody, you’re doing it to try and help them become better players and maybe in a few years when they look back at their time here, hopefully they can say that I did help them.”