The downfall of Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane will join West Ham on laon until the end of the season with an option for a permanent move. The Ireland international is trying to save his career. (Courtesy Oliver Mallich)

By Ryan Fleming

The downfall of Robbie Keane shouldn’t be a topic to write about, discuss or even mention in any pub, street or avenue. It never should have happened. Plain and simple. For such a talent to end up with almost zero playing time while being threatened to lose its place in the national team is disgraceful.

The story of Robbie Keane is one that has gone terribly wrong.

It is hard to exactly pinpoint the downfall of such a skilled and entertaining player and see where the wheels stopped turning. Currently, Keane is moving from one part of London to another for the rest of the season and maybe  more if he can help them stave off relegation. If Keane can’t save the Hammers, he will have to move back to Tottenham, a club he truly doesn’t belong to anymore.

Only making seven appearances for a team is hardly showing your face and proving your worth. Ireland national team manager Geovanni Trapattoni warned Keane that if he didn’t find another club, or earn playing time then his spot on the Irish roster is gone. It should be at this point where Trap should be lauding his record striker instead of applying pressure and inducing fear.

When Keane left North London to go to Liverpool for the ‘08/’09 season there were high hopes amongst the Anfield faithful. They were expected the cartwheel-celebrating striker to continue his defense-harrowing ways in the Merseyside. Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned. In 28 appearances the once-lethal forward managed seven goals — not close to the plan. It is here, after Keane left Spurs, that one can possibly pinpoint the flaw in the architecture.

Keane returned to Tottenham after the poor spell at Liverpool. Over the next two years, Keane made a mere 39 appearances, potting 14 goals. In an attempt to get his career back on track, Tottenham sent the forward on loan to Scotland to join Celtic — a move that not only grabbed all the headlines, but aslo sent Celtic supporters into ecstasy. It seemed, throughout Keane’s impressive 19 games in Glasgow — scoring 16 goals — would be enough to revitalize the moribund and out-of-place star. Again, like many times in Keane’s career things didn’t go as planned.

When he returned to White Hart Lane for the start of this season, despite rumors swirling around that new Celtic manager Neil Lennon would try and sign him, Keane’s career remained sedentary. He made 10 appearances this season in Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp’s side, scoring a lone goal. Despite all the nice words the Englishman has had to say for Keane, he never seems to find a spot in the lineup or on the bench, but rather somewhere in the stands with dreams and memories of what was and could have been — scoring goals, celebrating with an equally satisfying cartwheel certainly among them.

When the Winter transfer window closes, Keane will be playing for West Ham as the club fights an unexpected relegation battle, allowing Keane to keep his place on Ireland’s team. But Keane has another challenge to fight through to prove his worth, again. West Ham sits at the bottom of the Premier League table and in a desperate search of a leader.

Keane’s a story of hard work and perseverance. Proving people wrong and continuing to strive for more. From the days of Glenn Huddle, Martin Jol and Juande Ramos, where Keane would have to battle for a spot in the Starting XI despite leading the team in goals, Keane has faced adversity. The pattern comes to the forefront again. This time, he is battling to keep his career remembered and to go out with a bang instead of a whimper.

Ryan Fleming can be reached at ryan.fleming@thesoccerguysonline.com.

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