Keane hails virtues of Villa spell
Robbie Keane is hoping Ireland will reap the rewards of his loan spell at Aston Villa.
The 31-year-old striker opted to spend part of the MLS shutdown back in the Barclays Premier League rather than in pre-season training with LA Galaxy, and that decision worked out well for both parties. Keane scored three times in seven appearances for Villa, and will head into the friendly against the Czech Republic in Dublin brimming with confidence.
Asked what he had gained from his time in the midlands, he said: "Keeping fit, getting games under my belt - it couldn't have worked out better for me. That's the way I wanted it to go, to get games and keep myself fit."
Keane added: "LA Galaxy are travelling to different places - they are in Arizona at the moment for a few weeks - so I just thought it would be more beneficial to me to stay in one place rather than be travelling all over the place and having a pre-season behind me that I already had three months ago.
"In that respect there was a bit of thinking behind it, it wasn't that I just wanted to go on loan.
"Playing for Villa, it's a great club and I really enjoyed my time there, and I think it worked out well for the both of us."
Ireland will hope Keane's spell back in English football will help to keep their record goalscorer - he has 53 senior international goals to his name - ticking over ahead of the Euro 2012 finals.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni admits he has all but chosen his squad already, but Keane knows every player needs to be at their best to win a seat on the plane to Poland and the Ukraine.
He said: "The manager has tough decisions to make but I am sure he has made tougher decisions before in his career and I am sure it won't be a problem.
"It's up to the players to keep themselves fit and keep themselves playing as much as they can."