Robbie Keane has admitted that he did not think a return to Tottenham was on the cards heading into the January transfer window of 2009, just six months on from moving to Liverpool from Spurs.
Keane was at the peak of his powers when he made the switch from White Hart Lane to Anfield in the summer of 2008, with the Irishman having formed a formidable partnership with Dimitar Berbatov over the previous two seasons.
Spurs lost both Keane and Berbatov in 2008, with the latter making the move to Manchester United.
Unlike the Bulgarian, who proved to be a hit at Old Trafford, winning multiple league titles and the Premier League Golden Boot, Keane spent just six months at Liverpool before returning to Spurs the subsequent January.
The striker never quite managed to get back to his best on his return to Tottenham and had a couple of loan spells away in the subsequent seasons before joining LA Galaxy in 2011.
The former Republic of Ireland internaitonal has now admitted that the lack of game time at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez was the main reason behind his swift return to Spurs.
When asked about his time at Anfield, the striker told the Reds’ official website: “Obviously my intention was to stay there for as long as possible. But in football, as we know, it happens, things change. Of course, I would’ve liked to stay a little bit longer but it wasn’t meant to be. All we ever want to do is just to play football.
“I’m not one of these guys that wakes up on a Saturday morning looking forward to sitting on the bench. I was someone who just loved football. Whether it’s Sunday league or for Liverpool or Tottenham, you still want to play every game. The manager had different ideas, which is fine and I’ve got no problem with that, everyone’s got their own ideas and I respect that. But I do reflect on it [with] no regrets.”
The 42-year-old revealed that a return to Tottenham was not planned at the start of the January transfer window.
When asked if the deadline day move to Spurs caught him by surprise or if it was in the works, he responded: “No, it wasn’t in the works. Obviously, Tottenham wanted me back and I wasn’t playing as regularly as I’d liked to, which is obviously frustrating for any player. You don’t want to be looking forward to sitting on the bench when it comes round to the weekend.
“No matter who you are as a player, I think you’ll always find that difficult, especially me who just loves playing football. Of course, I was expecting to stay there for a long, long time but different circumstances, a different manager’s opinion just changed that.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Keane was well on his way to legendary status at Spurs before he left in 2008 but one could not blame the Irishman, given where we were as a club compared to Liverpool at the time. Unfortunately, he was never the same player again, with his struggles at Liverpool seemingly denting his confidence.
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