A familiar face appeared in the Shamrock Rovers dugout as the defending League of Ireland champions hosted Cork City on Sunday.
Robbie Keane was spotted in a Rovers tracksuit as the Dublin side took on City in a pre-season friendly at Tallaght Stadium.
After putting the players through their paces in the warm-up, Keane made his voice heard at stages of the friendly, which Rovers won 2-1.
But it’s widely reported that Keane is performing coaching duties on a voluntary basis and the Republic of Ireland legend is not expected to take an official role with Rovers.
Keane, who most recently held a dual role of assistant manager with Ireland and Middlesbrough, recently explained that he’s been assisting Rovers head coach Stephen Bradley to stay involved in football.
Keane told The Coaches’ Voice: “Since Mick’s contract with Ireland ran out when Covid hit, and wasn’t renewed, and Woody lost his job at Boro, I’ve been making sure I stay in the game by helping out at Shamrock Rovers off my own back.
“It’s a good chance to keep ticking over and keep practising while I’m not able to travel any further due to Covid. I’ve got a lot from helping my local team; from helping players regardless of their experience or level.”
Keane is still on the FAI payroll despite leaving his role with the national team after the arrival of Stephen Kenny last year.
New FAI CEO Jonathan Hill has not yet spoken to Keane about a potential role within the association but he has vowed to discuss a solution with the 40-year-old.
Keane, meanwhile, does not plan to rush into a head coach role as he intends to continue collecting experience before he considers his options.
“I’ve taken bits from everyone I played under,” Keane said. “With Ireland, as well as Mick, I learned plenty from Giovanni Trapattoni’s very, very simple and defensively sound set-up that was so effective for us – there was a time when we went four years unbeaten away from home. I learned from Martin O’Neill, too, even if I wasn’t with him for as long.
“But I know I have to be myself as a coach.
“I’ve got plenty of experience as a leader. I just want to keep on learning to become the best coach I can be – and then see where that takes me.”