LA Galaxy and Ireland International forward Robbie Keane has been a lone bright spot in a disappointing campaign this season for the Galaxy. He has scored three goals and added two assists in nine starts this season.
The Galaxy roster has been ravaged by injuries and inconsistent play, but Keane has emerged as a leader in the locker room and on the pitch.
On Sunday, Keane will join the rest of his countrymen as they kick-off the European Championship. The now 31-year-old forward will captain the Irish in their first major international tournament since the 2002 World Cup.
Keane becomes just the third player in MLS history to take part in the European Championship, with Germany’s Lothar Matthäus and Denmark’s Mikos Moinar being the only two previous MLSers.
Keane is the Republic of Ireland’s all-time leading goal scorer, and he will be counted upon to produce if the country has any chance of advancing past the group stage.
In an article on MLSsoccer.com, Keane spoke about the challenges of qualifying for the tournament and the excitement this tournament has generated back home.
“You take things for granted when you’re younger,” said Keane in the article.
“When I was 21, playing in the World Cup, you think every two years the Euros and stuff like that, it’s basically going to happen. Unfortunately, it hasn’t for us. We’ve been so close on numerous occasions, but we just haven’t gotten there.”
The Republic of Ireland find themselves in Group C, along with Croatia, Italy, and reigning Euro-champions Spain. They open up play against Croatia on Sunday, which should be an evenly contested match and a strong first test for the Irish.