Keane excited by future
Robbie Keane will head off on his end-of-season break excited at what lies ahead for the Republic of Ireland.
The LA Galaxy striker's domestic campaign drew to a close before he met up with the national squad for their friendlies against Latvia and Poland, with new management duo Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane launching a new era in Irish football.
While most of his team-mates roll up their sleeves for a return to action in English club football, frontman Keane will enjoy a well-earned rest.
However, he is already anticipating the start of the qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 in September next year and the prospect of Ireland once again mounting a challenge.
The 33-year-old said: "Listen, we have a manager who is very enthusiastic about what he does. He has always produced where he has been, so I think everyone is excited.
"It's certainly been good. It was good to play at home and get the fans back on our side, if you like.
"The two of them, Martin and Roy, coming in certainly did that and then to play away from home against a team that is getting stronger and stronger, it was a good test.
"It was good for him (O'Neill) to see all the players and different players who they probably haven't seen close up, so I think it's something he certainly enjoyed, anyway.
"He mentioned after he had really enjoyed it."
The younger Keane was a bystander at the INEA Stadium in Poznan on Tuesday evening as a much-changed Republic side battled their way to a 0-0 draw with the Poles to add to their 3-0 victory over the Latvians at the Aviva Stadium.
He did not play because of a long-standing Achilles problem, the extent of which he hopes to discover next Tuesday when he sees a specialist.
Keane, much to his manager's admiration, delayed the consultation in order to make the trip to Poland, and he is bracing himself for the possibility of surgery.
Asked what his plans are for the next few weeks, he said: "Just rest, and see the specialist and see what he has to say, whether I have to have an operation or whatever he says.
"But I won't know until I see him on Tuesday."
The striker, who scored his 62nd senior international goal and won his 131st cap against Latvia, admitted he got a different perspective from the bench in Poznan, one which may come in handy once his playing days are over as he looks towards a career in coaching.
He said: "It's different. It's always nice to see it from a different perspective and see how the game goes.
"But, like anybody, you want to be playing and I'm exactly the same. But it was good to see, it was good to see the lads playing and good to get a few tips for a good few years down the line.
"The pitch wasn't the best for both teams, it was quite bobbly. But all in all, it was a decent performance. Everybody worked hard and these are the games you don't want to be beaten in, so a draw was probably a fair result."
Keane will hope to be back on the pitch when Serbia visit Dublin in March, and his long-term strike partner under former boss Giovanni Trapattoni, Kevin Doyle, is eager to join him once again.
Doyle slipped down - and ultimately out of - the pecking order as club Wolves dropped out of the Barclays Premier League and in short order, into Sky Bet League One.
However, he was recalled last month by interim boss Noel King, who also selected the current squad on O'Neill's behalf, and is relishing the chance to prove himself at international level once again, while helping to spearhead a promotion push at Molineux.
Doyle said: "We (Wolves) have started very well this season and are top of the league from the weekend.
"Next season when the qualifiers start again, it's another new year and hopefully if things go well, we will be in another division."
Doyle will hope to impress O'Neill and number two Roy Keane from a distance before the friendly against Serbia to experience once again the buzz that their arrival has created.
He said: "It's been very enjoyable - not that it wasn't enjoyable before. It's just a new manager and new ideas, a new voice to listen to.
"Obviously everyone is very keen to listen and try to impress and both of them being heroes of all of us, probably, over the years, makes it that bit more special, I suppose."
Related Republic of Ireland News