Robbie Keane is open to taking a coaching role with Republic of Ireland after his retirement from international football.
The LA Galaxy striker will make his final appearance for his country – for whom he has scored 67 times – against Oman on Wednesday, but the 36-year-old plans to continue playing for “as long as “possible”.
“I think it’s the right time for me,” Keane said. “I certainly have mixed emotions about [retiring].
“It’s been a wonderful journey and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Wednesday night is going to be very emotional for me and my family, of course.
“The last week has been very positive from everybody in terms of the messages I’ve been getting from people I played with, friends and family, but I haven’t really reflected on it.
“After the game, on Thursday or Friday, when that curtain finally closes, maybe I’ll look back and say, ‘You know what, you did okay Rob’.
“I feel that, physically, I can play for another few years, but this is the right time, in terms of international duty, to finish. I’ve had an absolutely wonderful career with the Irish team and I have so many great memories, but I think it’s the right time.”
Keane has scored five MLS goals in 10 appearances for LA Galaxy this season and insists he will continue to play on at club level, although he is considering a future coaching career.
“First and foremost I want to continue to play the game that I love,” Keane said. “I’m just a lad who loves playing football so I’ll continue doing that for as long as possible.
“If you’re asking down the road would I like to be involved [in the Ireland set-up], of course. But for the time being it’s important for me to focus on my club career for a couple more years and after that we’ll see what happens.
“Just because I’ve got my coaching badges and I’ve got a bit of a name doesn’t automatically mean that I’m going to go into management, or that I’ll be a good manager or a bad manager.
“But I’ve certainly taken the steps to do that. Of course I’d like to stay in the game after I finish playing, but the focus right now is on playing.”
Republic of Ireland reached the knock-out rounds of Euro 2016 before losing 2-1 to hosts France in the lasy-16 and Keane believes the future is “very bright” for his country under manager Martin O’Neill.
“I think the future is very bright,” Keane said. “The display at the Euros suggests that.
“I think we have a fantastic manager, fantastic backroom staff and I think we’ve got great players who have an unbelievable desire to win and an unbelievable team spirit.
“I think we’ll be fine and I think we’ll do well in this [World Cup qualifying] campaign. I look forward to watching it from a different perspective now.”
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