Former Tottenham star eager to see Ireland qualify for major tournaments


Ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane enjoyed a hugely successful career at club and international level.

He was the scourge of Premier League betting sites during a glittering spell in English football, regularly delivering the goods in the ‘score anytime’ market.

Keane also made his mark with Ireland, scoring 68 goals for the national team and featuring in the World Cup and European Championship.

Things have gone downhill in recent years, with Ireland failing to qualify for the last four major tournaments. Keane is eager to see Ireland start upsetting the odds again.

“Scotland and Wales have qualified for Euro 2024 and we probably see ourselves in that category, in terms of the players that we have,” Keane told Betway.

“Over the years, it was always us that was qualifying for tournaments so we need to start getting back there. We know how good the fans are when they travel, with the support they give to the team. I think every tournament needs Ireland in it.”

Ireland were extremely disappointing during qualification for the 2024 European Championship in Germany, recording just two victories in eight games.

Although they were drawn in a tough group which included France, Netherlands and Greece, the manner of their performances left a lot to be desired.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) took action in the aftermath, with manager Stephen Kenny leaving the role after just over three years in charge.

The FAI has subsequently dragged its heels over his successor, appointing former Manchester United defender John O’Shea as interim manager for two upcoming friendlies.

O’Shea is in the running to be handed the role permanently, although several other candidates are in contention including Keane.

England U21 boss Lee Carsley has also been touted for the role, but prising him away from the Three Lions set-up would not be easy.

Whoever gets the job will be tasked with guiding Ireland through their upcoming Nations League campaign and qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

Keane believes the Nations League games give Ireland the ideal opportunity to demonstrate they can emerge as genuine contenders to qualify for the World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“We’ve drawn England in the Nations League and it’s a tough group, but those are the games that you want to be playing,” Keane added. “As players, you want to test yourself against the best teams.

“I played against England twice and we drew both games. That’s certainly a game I’ll be looking forward to watching, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to be in Dublin. I think the atmosphere will be incredible.

“I hope Ireland can finish above England, but we have to be realistic. What they’ve done over the last six years with Gareth Southgate has been very good and they’re always there or thereabouts in tournaments. If you finish above England, I think you’re doing very well.”