Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Robbie Keane myth

WITH two goals in Skopje this summer, Robbie Keane surpassed Bobby Charlton’s record haul of 49 goals to become the British Isles’ leading scorer. With those strikes against Macedonia he sits on 51, far outstripping legends from other home nations such as Ian Rush, Wales, 28 goals, Denis Law and Kenny Dalglish, both Scotland, both 30 goals. He has outscored Gary Lineker for England and looking further afield; he has more goals than Jurgen Klinsmann, Rudi Voller and has just drawn level with Thierry Henry. A substantial return from 111 caps.

Experts also point out that Keane’s tally was already better than Charlton’s as his includes a smaller percentage of goals from friendly matches. Charlton’s 45% to Robbie’s 39%. Rating that Keane has scored more important goals. They make no mention that Robbie hasn’t played in a World Cup Final, but I guess its goals we’re worried about here. So let’s take a look at those 51 goals and see how important Robbie has been to Ireland since his 1998 debut against the Czech Rep.

Seeing as goals in friendlies seem to carry no weight, let’s discard them. I will count the Nations Cup games as friendlies for ease of argument, if you disagree with this, feel free to email in with your thoughts.
So there goes 20 goals off the total, but 31 is still an impressive amount from competitive internationals. But were they all crucial goals? Let us delve deeper and take out the goals scored against the minnows, teams such as Andorra and Malta. So exclude the games against teams who finished in the bottom two places of our qualification groups. Again if you disagree with this, and that all teams are tough to play, then email in. But for now 17 goals get taken off, leaving us with 14 goals against opposition ranked the same or higher than Ireland. This is not too bad.

But Robbie has scored against Spain, Germany, Holland, France etc. I hear you cry. All true, but Ireland didn’t actually win any of those matches! The last time Keane scored in a game Ireland won against high class opposition was… 1999 against Yugoslavia, and even then, Mark Kennedy got the winner. I’m not including the first-leg playoff win against Iran that he scored in, as they were ranked lower than Ireland and included in their line-up the scorer of 109 international goals, Ali Daei, and as we know he’s not fit to lace Robbie’s boots! Sometimes you have to look beyond the stats to see a players true worth.

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