LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane has told MLSsoccer.com of his excitement at reuniting with Steven Gerrard at the StubHub Center this summer.
Gerrard, 34, announced earlier this month that he would join the MLS club at the end of Liverpool’s 2014-15 campaign, signing an 18-month deal to follow in the footsteps of fellow ex-England skipper David Beckham.
Set to link up with Keane again after the pair were teammates at Anfield for the first half of the 2008-09 season, the Republic of Ireland international believes his former colleague will make a huge impact on the league.
“He's one of [the best midfielders I've played with], he and Roy Keane, I would say, definitely would be up there,” Keane said following his first training session of preseason. “His ability to make players around him even better [will be] a big thing when he comes. Players will see how good he is and how simple he makes things.
“He's looking forward to the new challenge [and it's] something new for him. He's from Liverpool himself, he's never left home, so I'm sure he's going to enjoy it over here and, most importantly, help us win championships.”
In the Galaxy, Gerrard will be joining the most successful and celebrated franchise in MLS history, fresh off their third MLS Cup title in four seasons under head coach Bruce Arena, and one of the favourites for the 2015 championship.
Keane himself has been a huge part of that success, having won the league’s MVP award in 2014 after recording 19 goals and 14 assists in 29 regular-season games, but the former Tottenham Hotspur forward admits that the Red skipper’s eventual arrival could steal some of his thunder.
In fact, he thinks Gerrard could have a similar impact, at least on the pitch, as Beckham, adding: “Most games you watch with him, they're exactly the same: Dominates the midfield and creates chances for people and keeping the ball and spraying passes 50, 70 yards and finding people's feet every time.
“He's kind of similar in passing range to Becks.”
LA have been hit with a couple of significant losses during the offseason, however, having seen US legend Landon Donovan retire, and midfield stalwart Marcelo Sarvas traded to the Colorado Rapids in anticipation of Gerrard’s move.
Keane admits that the pair will be tough to replace, but insists that the pieces are in place to fill the holes left in the wake of their respective departures.
“You lose two good players like that, it's going to be difficult,” he said. “But I think it's important for this team [for] players like myself, we'll have to step up even more now, because we're losing experienced players and players that bring a lot to the team.
“But we've got good, quality players. We've been together now for a few good years.”