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The LA Galaxy striker has been shortlisted for the MLS Player of the Year award and admits that he is not looking forward to hanging up his boots

Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has admitted that he is dreading the day of his retirement after it was announced he has been shortlisted for the MLS Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

Keane, 33, scored 16 goals and provided 11 assists for LA Galaxy this season and is joined by Montreal Impact striker Marco Di Vaio and Chicago Fire's Mike Magee on the shortlist for the award.

"I just love playing," the LA Galaxy striker told reporters. "People don't understand that. For me, to wake up every morning and go training and playing games, you can't beat it.

"It's not going to last forever, I'm fully aware of that. I'm enjoying it as much putting that shirt on as I did when I was 18 years of age. I just love what I do. it's fairly simple."

Ireland's record goalscorer added to his international tally in the 3-0 victory over Latvia last week, scoring his 62nd international goal for the Boys in Green, and he conceded that he "can't imagine" retirement.

"I dread it," he said. "I dread the day that I finish playing, of course I do, yeah. I've been doing it since I was 17 years of age and I can't imagine the day. It feels like that it's so far away. Obviously, it's not, but it certainly feels like that."

With Galaxy's season over, Keane has revealed that he is planning on getting surgery on a troublesome Achilles tendon injury, something that has been giving him "terrible pain."

"I don’t get an injection before every game, but sometimes it gets worse and worse," said the striker.

"That's the reason I'm getting this done. In the few weeks leading up to last year's [MLS playoff] final I was in terrible pain, but you just get through it and hope then that the break will get rid of it.

"That’s why it needs to be done now because if I leave it again it’s going to continue."

Keane also said that he was "open-minded" about Stephen Ireland's potential return to the international fold. The midfielder, who is currently on loan at Stoke City, has indicated that he would be open to making a return to the Ireland set-up under new manager Martin O'Neill.

"It's not my call," said Keane. "Again, it's new. [O'Neill and Roy Keane] will probably want all of the best players available, players who are playing on a regular basis. So of course they have to be open-minded about it but, ultimately, if someone doesn't want to come, what can you do?

"If they want to come, that's fine; make a decision on whether you want to come or not and then stick to that decision, instead of 'maybe I'll come, I don't know.' I'm not just talking about Stephen, I'm talking in general."

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