'I'll keep playing on as long as the manager picks me' - Ireland captain Robbie Keane quashes retirement speculation

The LA Galaxy striker has revealed that he had thought about retiring from international duty but said that the idea of never playing for Ireland again did not appeal to him
LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane said that he considered retiring from international football, but revealed that the idea of never playing for Ireland again was a 'difficult' one to fathom.

Fulham winger Damien Duff and Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given made the decision to retire from international duty but 32-year-old Keane has vowed to play on.

Speaking ahead of Ireland's opening 2014 World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan, the Boys in Green captain said that he would continue playing for his country as long as he was fit and healthy.

"I thought about [retiring]" Keane told the Irish Independent. "And when Damien [Duff] and Shay [Given] decided to go that way, it was a sad day for Irish football because they've been two of the best players this country has ever seen.

He continued: "But the thought of never putting on a green jersey again was quite difficult for me to come around to. Even now, I'm dreading that day. I'll keeping playing on while I'm fit and healthy and as long as the manager picks me."

Keane will partner Stoke City striker Jonathan Walters in attack against Kazakhstan and he says that the entire squad wants to put the Euro 2012 disappointment behind them by getting off to a 'good start'.

"You can't dwell too much on what happened in the Euros," he said. "Everyone was disappointed -- we know that. But it's a new campaign. It's important that we get off to a good start so everyone forgets about the Euros."

Ireland take on Kazakhstan in Astana on September 7. Kick off 1700 BST.

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