By Ryan Fleming
Their moves back to the Premier League are more than to keep their fitness up. Their moves now pin supporters’ hopes on the backs of these once greats. Theirry Henry and Robbie Keane are in their own respects, two different players with more things in common than one would think.
Henry, despite scoring a beauty of a goal against the English Championship side Leeds United, warns Arsenal supporters that he’s not going to score every time he steps on the pitch, nor will he dance past three, four, five defenders like he did years ago. Henry, 34, deserves credit for tuning down those so tuned up for his return. What Henry brings is his undeniable passion (see goal celebration against Leeds), a veteran presence that save for Mikael Arteta is all but absent at the Emirates.
Despite his Wikipedia page not being updated – it is missing that beauty of a goal that literally shook Emirates – Henry is already having an affect over the countless young players in Arsene Wenger’s squad. The Frenchman carries an aura with him that makes those around him listen with the intent of school children reading to be branded with a ruler across their knuckles.
Keane, much like Henry won’t gallop past defenders, he never really had that sort of speed. He’s always been a goal poacher, picking the right time to separate himself from defenders, then celebrating with his trademark cartwheel celebration, which makes those who love him act like children again. Similar to his MLS counterpart, both players have a bad rap.
Henry’s only blemish was the handball in the 2010 World Cup Qualifier in a winner-takes-all, that despite being of Irish descent, I forgive him for. Let’s be honest, it was a split-second reaction that any of us would have done without thinking twice.
Keane, the veteran journeyman, who much like Henry can be labeled as one of the Premier League’s most prolific scorers in its history. But Keane’s movements have been mostly failures. His £19m move to Liverpool from Tottenham is looked at with much laughter, that is, of course, if you’re a Liverpool fan, or myself who bought a Keane kit a week before his transfer. I digress, Keane’s move to his “dream club” was an utter failure. In 19 appearances the Irishman scored a mere five goals and only lasted a measly four months at Anfield before returning to North London.
Since the move back to Spurs, Keane has traveled from Tottenham, to Celtic, to West Ham, to LA and finally to Aston Villa. Despite all these moves, the latest to Villa is a good one. Keane will provide veteran experience, an Henry-like passion and a scoring talent that hasn’t yet run out. With the goal-starved Villa being linked to transferring away their only legitimate threat, Darren Bent, Keane’s move will be magnified and scrutinized that much more.
Whatever the outcome of their loans are, Keane and Henry should be celebrated for what they are. Goal scorers whose age is getting the best of them. If you look at Henry’s latest goal, you can still that he has it, which in makes me believe Keano still has it. They are players that have over 50 international goals each, an achievement that puts the two in lore forever. And this move should be celebrated by all four teams involved.
Ryan Fleming can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org