Robbie Keane to spearhead the champions’ attack
Reigning Hero Indian Super League (ISL) champions Atletico de Kolkata have bolstered their squad by roping in former Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane.
The forward, who was a seasoned campaigner in the Premier League, mostly with Tottenham Hotspur, also links up with former team-mate and new ATK head coach Teddy Sheringham.
Keane, who kick-started his senior career with Wolverhampton Wanderers, had subsequent spells at Coventry City, Internazionale, and Leeds United before gaining prominence with Spurs.
A seven and a half-year stint over two spells with the North Londoners and over three hundred appearances later, the prolific striker had amassed more than a century of goals.
A large part of the success he attained was down to the fact that he fulfilled almost all the requirements necessary to become a quality hitman. Besides possessing quick feet that would fox many a robust defender, Keane was a poacher, and more often than not, found himself in the right place at the right time.
The link up with Sheringham was also an added incentive, and although the two played just one season together at Spurs (2002-03), Keane was their top scorer in what was also his debut season with the North London club.
For ATK, there could have hardly been a better replacement for their talisman Iain Hume. Over the past two seasons, the Canadian had amassed 18 goals for the two-time champions, ending as top scorer for the franchisee and second-highest scorer in the league on both occasions. Keane, at 37, may be an older replacement, but one with plenty of Premier League experience and of course, the connect with the head coach.
As much of an impact he had at club level, Keane was integral for his national side as well. A winner of the UEFA Under 18 European Championships, and a former captain of the Republic of Ireland, he is his nation's top scorer with 68 goals and has also made the most number of appearances (146).
All said and done, Keane, who also plied his trade for Liverpool and LA Galaxy, will have to adjust to a whole new environment and style of play. What is for certain is that ATK could not have asked for a more experienced and hardened football player.