Robbie Keane is set for one final adventure as he teams up with former Tottenham teammate Teddy Sheringham in the Indian Super League with Atletico del Kolkata.
In an interview with Scottish writer Graham Hunter, the 37-year-old looked back on his career so far and spoke openly about his failed move to Liverpool in 2008 when manager Rafa Benitez seemed clueless in how best to use his new striker.
Speaking in the revealing interview, which you can hear here Keane said:
“He wanted to change me to a left winger and I mean I am clearly not a left winger, and that is obviously clear for everyone to see.
“The first 20 minutes he wanted me to play left wing and obviously I had never played it before, so it was new to me.”
While Keane was uneasy with having to adapt to a new role, the Dubliner does however rate the Spanish coach as one of the best he has worked with.
“Of course I respect every manager I’ve worked with. They all have their ideas, different ideas, and whether I agree with them it doesn’t matter.
“I’m not a left-winger, as we’ve established from 20 years of playing football, but tactically he was probably one of the best I’ve worked with – he knows the game inside out.
“But he tried to turn me into something I’m not, and that was always going to be a recipe for disaster as someone used to scoring goals.”
“When I did play up front I scored goals. But my problem was that when I did play, I wasn’t going to play the next day, which, for a striker, is very difficult.”
The former Irish captain only spent six months at the club and highlighted the need for first team football for his decision to return to Tottenham when it became obvious his manager did not trust him to start games, preferring to go with Fernando Torres, begging the question – why was he bought? And was it Benitez who bought him?
“Strikers rely on confidence, and as soon as you get those goals, you know there’s more to come. So that kills you a little bit, and that was the hardest bit to take. For me, and I’ll mention it briefly, I’m not waking up on a Saturday morning to sit on the bench and pick up my wages. I love football.”
“When you have that adrenaline, with that Saturday feeling, and you can’t wait to play. So to be sitting on the bench is the biggest kick in the backside. I was sick to the stomach, and I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to leave after six or seven months. I wanted to stay there, scoring loads of goals and winning stuff, but if you’re not playing and you know there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there’s no point in hanging around. That’s not me.”
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena