CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane spent nearly a month preparing for and playing in the 2012 European Championship and, despite his busy schedule, trained with the LA Galaxy on Friday, eschewing any notion of needing some time off.
"I want to play as long as I can," Keane said after training ahead of the Galaxy's match against Vancouver on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, TSN in Canada/MLS Live in US). "I'd be happy to play 90 minutes."
Just how challenging such a taxing travel and match schedule has affected him and will continue to affect him remains to be seen.
"We’ll see tomorrow, won’t we?" Keane said. "Or in the next couple of weeks. It’ll be nice to get minutes under me belt tomorrow to get the stiffness out and hopefully by next week or next Saturday then I’ll be back to 100 percent."
The Galaxy have not missed Keane this week as the club has beaten Portland and Real Salt Lake since returning from a two-week international break. Head coach Bruce Arena has gone to a 4-5-1 formation, partly because of his absence and partly because of the injuries that have decimated the forward corps. Regardless of what formation will await Keane when he is back in the lineup, his role will be the same now as it was before he left and the same as it was in Poland.
"With the national team, because I’ve scored a lot of goals, there’s a lot of pressure on me to score goals, so I play a little bit higher than sometimes," Keane said. "I also like to go off and get involved on the play, get on the ball and make things happen."
While teammates said they have welcomed him back, they also understand the physical demands placed on him are challenging.
"These tournaments are draining when you come back from them," Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. "People who [have] experienced that will tell you that win, lose or draw, it’s draining. But he’s a professional and he’s been through this a lot. I think he’s excited to be back here and be back with the team. He wants to play."
Although Keane was determined to help Ireland succeed before he left, the Irish had a meager showing in Poland, losing all three matches by a combined score of 9-1. Having been unable to secure a victory, Keane said he wasn't able to take much away from his first Euros.
"It was a good experience and it was great to play in the European Championship," he said, "but when you don’t win, you have to hold your hands up and say that the teams that we played were superior than you were. It’s as simple as that, really."