Robbie Keane admits evolving role with Ireland was key to his longevity

The 36-year-old will play his final game in a green shirt against Oman on Wednesday

Robbie Keane

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer 

Robbie Keane makes his final appearance in a green jersey this Wednesday as he lines for Ireland against Oman.

The country's record goalscorer announced his retirement from international football last week, but will have a chance to say goodbye to fans and represent his country one last time. 

Keane, 36, steps away from the international set-up as one of our greatest ever players and admits that even toward the end of his career with Ireland, he was happy to help the team anyway he could, even if that meant not being a regular starter.

"It's difficult for anybody, when you play football you play to play the game," he said. "That's what we get paid to do of course.

"For Ireland, I want to play as much as I can but I understood the different role that I had in the last couple of years.

"Was it tough to take because I want to get out there and score goals? You know me I wanted to get out there,, play every game and score goals. 

"I knew I had a different role with the team and actually I quite enjoyed the responsibility of almost being a coach if you like on the sidelines and helping the younger players in training. 

"Them seeing me doing the practice after training and the shooting practice that I do, they would come over and join in with me. Those are the little small things.

"Even if I wasn't playing or I was, this would have been the time I would have been the time I retired anyway."