Republic of Ireland skipper praises Becks.
LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane has hailed David Beckham as a standard bearer for MLS and says the former England captain has helped shape the game across the pond.
Keane, 33, is in his third season with LA Galaxy, where the Republic of Ireland captain has emerged from Beckham’s shadow since the midfielder’s departure for PSG last year.
With 33 league goals for Galaxy and a third consecutive MLS cup on the horizon, Keane has been a huge success at the StubHub Arena but the Irishman singled-out Beckham for praise, citing the superstar’s influence on the US game.
“I think probably if you asked everybody, Becks’ influence on everybody coming here was huge,” Keane told The Guardian.
“He was the one who set the standard and set the bar for people coming here. He certainly put MLS on the map…He’s like the equivalent of Tiger Woods in golf. That’s how I see it. That’s the influence he’s had on MLS and a lot of people should be grateful for that…”
Keane also said Beckham had been a big reason why he had settled so quickly in the States but admitted it was important that he adopted a fresh mentality after leaving Tottenham.
“The likes of Becks were here so they helped me settle in fairly quickly, you know. I don’t really have an answer for you on why that exactly is, but I think if you’re hungry and want to succeed and have that fire in your belly of wanting to succeed, I think you’re certainly on the right road if you have your mentality right. My mentality going into it was ‘Forget about where I’ve played before, and what I’ve done in the past, because that means nothing. It’s about now, and what I do from here on in.’”
Keane spent eight years at Tottenham over two different spells and says his struggles for first team football during his final months at White Hart Lane, as well as Beckham’s influence, persuaded him the time was right for a new challenge.
“It was something that was certainly in the back of my mind, something that I’d be looking at in the future. But it happened fairly quickly and it wasn’t at the time I was expecting to go to be honest with you. It just came at a time when I was in and out of the Tottenham team and I just fancied a change. If I was playing week in, week out for Tottenham it probably would have been a completely different scenario, you know?
But the fact is it came at, I think, a good time for me. I could have stayed there, signed for another team, a few more teams in the Premiership. But I’d just be playing for the sake of playing then — trying to score a few more goals, get a few more league appearances under my belt. I just wanted a completely new challenge and the Galaxy just came in that space of time when Becks had been over training with us (Tottenham) and told us how much he enjoyed it you know. So it came at a time I wasn’t expecting, but now, looking back it was certainly the right decision.”