Keane convinced West Ham will survive
Hammers new hit-man Robbie Keane is desperate to show what he can do for the Premier League strugglers.
WEST HAM new boy Robbie Keane knows all about survival battles. He helped Spurs to haul themselves out of the relegation places two seasons ago and now he has to do it all over again with the Hammers.
The 30-year-old has signed on loan for the rest of the season, with West Ham duty bound to sign him if he keeps them up and the Ireland international is determined to do just that.
“I went back to Tottenham and had a massive hand in keeping the club up, because they were in a similar position to what West Ham are in,” said Keane.
“They have gone on to big things and good luck to them. It’s a new challenge for me and it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”
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The striker has been left twiddling his thumbs at White Hart Lane for much of the season and he is determined to hit the ground running, starting against Blackpool.
“It was frustrating for me at Spurs,” he admitted. “I’m no different to anyone else. I’m paid to play football and that is what I want to do. If I’m guilty of moving to a few clubs to play football, then I’m sorry about it. I’d prefer to be playing football than sitting on the bench.”
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Many have suggested that Keane’s impact may be similar to that of Carlos Tevez in the relegation battle of 2007, but the Irishman does not welcome the comparison.
“I’m not really looking for hero status to be honest,” he said. “If I can help to keep West Ham up, that is the important thing.”
So why is Keane so convinced that he will be signing that permanent deal at the end of the campaign?
“The bottom of the table is very close,” he said. “You just need a couple of wins to move fairly swiftly up the table. When you are 10 points behind, you think, Christ, it’s going to be some achievement to stay up, but the fact is we only need a few points to get out of it.”
Keane’s mental strength will certainly be another asset, but the striker believes that is not the most important thing.
“I’m quite strong minded, it’s just the way I am,” he said. “But I reckon Scott Parker and Mark Noble are strong characters too. It’s not about individuals, it’s about the whole team coming together.”
Manager Avram Grant has always been convinced of the Irishman’s talents, ever since he saw him score for his country against Israel when Grant was the manager!
The boss feels he is just the right man for the job: “He is a good character and you can see it in the training with us and he is also very intelligent,” said Grant.
“He scores, he has scored for everyone and also the style of the team is good for him. He knows English football, he knows our team and he is a gifted player.”
So does Keane expect to start tonight at Blackpool? Probably, but he is always a professional in a press conference.
“I would never be so naive to think I will definitely start. It’s up to me to get in and earn my place,” said Keane.
“I’m not arrogant enough to think I will be the number one striker.”
Maybe not, but most West Ham fans will be hoping he becomes just that – starting at Bloomfield Road.