Finally getting his troublesome Achilles sorted last winter helped LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane take his game to another level in 2014.
LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane has credited offseason surgery on his troublesome Achilles as the reason behind his stellar 2014 season.
Keane, 34, is coming off a campaign in which he notched 19 goals and 14 assists in 29 regular-season appearances, with his strike-record not just his best mark in MLS but also the highest total of his career with one club, eclipsing his 16-goal output with Tottenham Hotspur in the 2005-06 season.
With his success earning him his first MLS MVP award this week, the Irishman can also help the Galaxy win their third MLS Cup title in four seasons when the club host the New England Revolution in Sunday’s final at the StubHub Center.
Sure to be at the centre of the action on the afternoon, the former Spurs ace believes he’s performing at a level he hasn’t reached since his Premier League career, thanks to a pair of procedures last winter to repair damage to his Achilles that had accrued over past seasons.
“The last couple of years, I’ve been struggling with the Achilles problems and after the operation, I was rehabbing every day for six weeks before preseason,” he told the club’s official website.
“It’s been a long year, but it’s been worth it. I had been waking up in the mornings and I could hardly walk and it took me ages to get going in training. But since operation, I feel great.
“Personally though I feel great and I know that I have always played with a lot of enthusiasm,” he continued. “The most important thing is that you always feel great when you’re performing well. If you’re scoring goals and helping the team play well then you’ll feel like that, but if you don’t, you’ll feel [expletive].”
Keane has proven himself an invaluable import since arriving in the States from Tottenham in August 2011, grabbing 53 goals and 35 assists in less than 100 matches, while helping lead LA to consecutive MLS Cup titles in 2011 and 2012.
The ex-Liverpool and Leeds United front man has the chance to cement his status as one of the league’s greatest-ever international stars on the weekend, but insists he still has a few more good seasons left ahead of him.
“It is very simple for me because I love what I do. When you love something, you look forward to waking up,” he said.
“When you hate something, you’re not looking forward to going into work regardless of whether that’s football or a nine-to-five job. If you don’t love what you do then the battle is gone.
“For me, I wake up every morning and look forward to going to practice. I wake up on the weekend, desperate to play a game,” he added.
“I know that I will keep that up as long as I can. For me, it’s not about the money, I’d play for free. When I’m done playing and I go back to Ireland as a manager or whatever, I’ll keep playing in a Sunday league with my mates. That’s just the way I am.”