Ex-Tottenham and Liverpool ace Robbie Keane hits back at MLS detractors

The LA Galaxy striker believes that big-name arrivals like soon-to-be teammate Steven Gerrard will help the league become a force to be reckoned with.

LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane has rushed to defend the standard of MLS, telling ESPN FC that soon-to-be teammate Steven Gerrard won’t be able to treat the league like a retirement home.

Keane, 34, has been one of the shining stars of MLS since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur in August 2011, helping LA win three of the past four MLS Cup titles, while claiming last season’s MVP award after recording 19 goals and 14 assists in 29 games.

The Irishman is now set to see former Liverpool colleague Gerrard join him at the StubHub Center in the summer, with the Reds skipper confirmed to be heading over to the States at the end of his current contract as the league’s latest big-name arrival.

At the same time, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard is also due to link up David Villa-captained New York City FC, where he will go on to face the likes of Kaka, Clint Dempsey and Sebastian Giovinco, who all now call MLS home.

The recent influx of high-profile faces hasn’t stopped disparaging remarks about the league being a retirement home for fading stars but Keane has made his feelings on those beliefs more than clear, stressing that critics are underestimating the standard.

"I did not come out here to enjoy the beach, that's for sure," he said. "There is a lot of pressure on you as a designated player in MLS and I have certainly not taken my foot off the gas for a moment.

"You can see that because I have been a part of LA Galaxy teams that have won the MLS Cup a few times and that is not easy to win and the standard in MLS is rising all the time.

"You can now see how the league has grown, certainly with the players coming over here like Kaka and Stevie Gerrard. The league will only continue to grow and I believe in the next five, six years it could be a massive, massive league."

Keane also confirmed that he has been in regular contract with Gerrard ahead of his summer move and believes that the midfielder’s addition can help further raise the profile of MLS going forward, as well as keep LA in contention for more titles.

"He is a fantastic player and he's a great lad also," he added. "I know by speaking to him that he's very, very excited and looking forward to it.

"It's a completely different challenge than what he's used to. I left Ireland when I was 15, he's been in Liverpool all of his life and he's never left there, so it will be different for him. I won't say it will be difficult for him to live in LA, but I know he's excited about it."

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch