Former international Frank Stapleton has suggested that the Ireland captain must accept the fact that he may not be guaranteed a starting place in Giovanni Trapattoni's team
Speaking at an ESPN promotion event in Dublin, former Ireland striker Stapleton said that the LA Galaxy striker must be 'realistic' about his international prospects.
"It comes to us all, but at the same time I think that Robbie would still be delighted to be part of it," he said. "And he is realistic enough to know that he won't be always starting and that he may be thrown in in games to try and turn things round if there is a problem.
"I think you have to come to terms with that. It is not easy but you have got to be realistic in the modern game."
And Stapleton believes that if the former Tottenham striker can remain fit, he will still have much to offer Trapattoni's team, given the wealth of experience he has garnered during his career.
He said: "It's down to him staying fit. He knows how competitive it is at international level. He may not be getting that level of fitness at club level but at some point you can switch on to that.
"It doesn’t mean that you will be as sharp but we still shouldn't dismiss what Robbie has to offer because he has experience and he did so much during his career, for Ireland mainly."
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has opted to rest record goal-scorer Keane for the upcoming friendly international against Poland on February 6 and Stapleton acknowledged that it represents a prime opportunity for a younger player to stake their claim for a place.
"Transition is the word but how do you find a replacement? How do you find someone who is going to give you goals to win matches. At the moment, we need one or two of the other lads who are coming through to all of a sudden have a spurt and start scoring at that level.
"I know people might ask, ‘should Robbie be starting?’. I don't know whether the manager is going to start him or not and certainly this game against Poland is the chance to give somebody else the chance," concluded Stapleton.