Robbie Keane: Loan spell at Aston Villa a good deal for everyone

The Irish forward feels that his brief time at Villa Park has helped all involved as he looks to lead the Republic of Ireland out at Euro 2012 and prepare for the new MLS season
Republic of Ireland forward Robbie Keane feels that his loan spell at Aston Villa has benefited all parties involved as he looks to lead his country into Euro 2012.

The 31-year-old says that his decision to spend the MLS pre-season away from his parent club, LA Galaxy, has helped him maintain fitness without the need to travel.

"Keeping fit, getting games under my belt - it couldn't have worked out better for me," Keane told reporters.

"That's the way I wanted it to go, to get games and keep myself fit.

"LA Galaxy are travelling to different places - they are in Arizona at the moment for a few weeks - so I just thought it would be more beneficial to me to stay in one place rather than be travelling all over the place and having a pre-season behind me that I already had three months ago.

"In that respect there was a bit of thinking behind it, it wasn't that I just wanted to go on loan.

"Playing for Villa, it's a great club and I really enjoyed my time there, and I think it worked out well for the both of us."

The 31-year old is Ireland's all-time leading scorer with 53 goals and will be looking to add to that tally when his side take on the Czech Republic in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday.

Keane is 9/2 with William Hill to be the first goalscorer against the Czechs.

With manager Giovanni Trapattoni having said that his mind is all but made up on the final squad for Euro 2012, Keane believes that every player still has to be producing their best form to make the finals in Poland and Ukraine.

He stressed: "It's up to the players to keep themselves fit and keep themselves playing as much as they can.

"The manager has tough decisions to make but I am sure he has made tougher decisions before in his career and I am sure it won't be a problem."

Richard Dunne is one player whose place is under threat, the commanding centre-back limping out of Aston Villa's 1-0 home defeat to Manchester City with a fractured collarbone earlier in the month.

With Dunne hoping to make a return to fitness at the season's finale, Keane feels that this should be enough for the Republic of Ireland regular to win his place on the plane to Euro 2012.

"If you are a striker or a tricky winger like Aiden McGeady, it could be a little bit different," he added.

"When you are a centre-half you don't need to be as sharp as I would; I need a good five or six games to get sharp.

"As a centre-half you can get away with it. Richard looks after himself well anyway, so we just hope he gets back even before that.

"As long as he is fit for the European Championships that's the most important thing, because the presence that Richard has certainly will help the team."

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