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Mar 24, 2013

Keane delays retirement talk

Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has insisted he will not call time on his record breaking international career, as the striker has hit back at suggestions that his days at the top of the game are numbered.

Keane played his 123rd international game in the Republic of Ireland's 0-0 draw against Sweden on Friday, but his failure to make a significant impact in the game has seen the Irish media turn against their national team's all-time record goal scorer.

LA Galaxy striker Keane has never been a darling of the Irish press, but his move to America's MLS has seen more sports writers suggest he is no longer equipped to compete at the highest level, inspiring the 32-year to snipe back at his critics.

"Listen, if my legs were gone or I wasn't good enough, I wouldn't be here," he told the Sunday World newspaper. "I'm not naive and stupid enough to ever think that I'm going to carry on forever.

"At the moment I feel great, I feel sharp. My enthusiasm for playing games and training every day is still the same as ever, and as long as I enjoy it I'll carry on.

"I'll be playing as long as I can. I love playing for my country, I think that's fairly clear to see. At the moment, I'm enjoying coming back and putting that green jersey on and, until that changes, I won't retire."

Giovanni Trapattoni's Irish side will move into second spot in World Cup qualifying Group C if they collect a victory against Austria in Dublin on Tuesday night, with Keane expected to continue in his role as captain despite this latest round of criticism directed at him.

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