"It's very difficult in any sport to keep all supporters happy for 18 years" - John Giles on Robbie Keane's legacy

Ireland and Leeds legend chats to Off The Ball and praises the former captain's international career

Robbie Keane, Ireland

Robbie Keane ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

John Giles feels a full appreciation of Robbie Keane's achievements with Ireland will begin now that the country's record goalscorer is retiring from international football. 

Speaking to Off The Ball as Keane calls time on an 18-year Ireland career, John admitted that even the most productive players can fall foul of public disapproval from time to time.

"He had an 18-year career. It's very difficult in any sport to keep all supporters happy for 18 years. I've never seen anybody do it," he said.

He also feels that the LA Galaxy striker's ability to plunder goals measures up to the greats in that regard.

"Robbie was among the best finishers in the game," he said, adding that is accentuated by the type of teams he played in compared to other illustrious names who scored similar amounts of goals in legendary sides.

John also feels his Irish career is a "match for anybody" who has lined out for the Boys in Green.

"You'd have to have Robbie in any all Ireland team," he concluded.

Following on a point made by Keane about the importance of silent sidelines and parents giving kids a chance to play without pressure, John agreed and cited his own experience where his parents gave him the freedom to play and develop his skills naturally.

"My mother never, ever saw me play. She was too nervous to watch me play. She saw me playing out on the street but she never saw me play in a match because I think the kids need that freedom to go and express themselves on the pitch - especially kids. They don't actually need fathers and mothers actually shouting at them. I think the fathers and mothers should be there but a lot of them are shouting and screaming so the kids don't have that freedom, as Robbie said, to go and enjoy yourself because when I went out playing - I was playing under-14 when I was 8 - but I was totally free. In those days, my father didn't even come to the matches. Later on he did come to the matches but it was for advice. He was a good footballer. He never screamed at me or shouted at me or the teams that we were in. They let you go and play."