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Robbie Keane: We probably came in too late at Leeds

02 Jun | BY Robbie Keane | MIN READ TIME |
Robbie Keane: We probably came in too late at Leeds

The Irish football legend reflects on his time coaching at Elland Road before looking ahead to City's treble pursuit and West Ham's European final.

We came in too late at Leeds

My time at Leeds was very enjoyable, in terms of the experience and being back at my old club. There are really good people there, good staff. It’s a club that’s got a great history.

Unfortunately, we probably came in a little bit too late. It would have been nice if we’d have got in there earlier, I think it would have been a lot different.

The experience was great, apart from the results, but we knew we were going to be up against it with the teams we were playing.

It was great to work with Sam, with the experience that he has, to just learn how he is with players and with staff – he’s got a really good way about him and you can see why he’s been very successful.

You can only learn from these managers who have got the experience he’s got, who can do what he has done over the years in these situations.

He’d probably admit himself that we came in too late, and if the timing was a little bit earlier, I think we could have made a huge difference.

City and Pep are among the greatest

I’ve said it from the start about Man City, I really believed that they were going to go on and do really good things because of the team that they have. They always peak at a certain time, and we’ve seen how well they’ve done over the last couple of months.

This Man City team, if they win the treble, will go down as one of the best that we’ve ever seen in Premier League history.

That treble-winning Man Utd team was a really top, top team. It’s very hard to compare then and now, but if you look at the way that City play the game, how they want to dominate teams and really put on a show, it’s incredible to watch.

For me, Pep is one of the greatest managers that we’ve seen. What he did with Barcelona, it was incredible football to watch, probably the best team I’ve seen play. And now this Man City team is doing the exact same. He’ll go down as one of the greatest managers of all time.

Looking ahead to next season

It’s very difficult to say where City go from here, because if you win the treble, what players do you need? It depends on which players go out. If you get a couple of players that leave, I’m sure they’ll be looking to sign some players.

Next year, I don’t think it’s going to be a two-horse race with Arsenal. I think Liverpool will be back in the fold, I really believe that. With Pochettino coming in, I think Chelsea could be good, but they might need a year or two. I’m obviously hoping Tottenham will be too, if they get a few new signings, but that depends on if Harry Kane stays.

I think it will be a lot closer next year, in terms of teams challenging.

Hats off to the Hammers

It’s an unbelievable achievement for West Ham to get to a European final. It’s never easy to get to a final, and the first one in 47 years, it’s a great achievement. You just hope that they can go and win it now.

I think David’s always been a really good manager. He had a bit of a tough season but finished well in the league and if he can win a final that would just top everything off for him. It would be great for the club, and for English football.

West Ham will have another busy season if they can win the Conference League and qualify for Europe. They have to remain competitive, and I think David Moyes is a manager that likes that.

Every team wants to play in Europe and play against the best, so I’m sure that if they go and win this and qualify for Europe, they can kick on for next year.

Declan Rice has obviously been a top player for them. If he can sign off with a trophy as captain, that would be great, but I do think that he’ll probably leave this summer. He could be one for the big teams – Liverpool, Man City, Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea.

He’s been an incredible servant, so I imagine that he’d love to sign off with a win and a trophy under his belt.

My Champions League final prediction

Inter Milan will be a tough one because defensively they’re very solid. Obviously, they’re my former team, and Italian teams are very difficult to play against. Inter have done very well to get to the final as it is.

My money would be on City.

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Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane

Republic of Ireland's all-time record goalscorer who also scored 355 goals in 737 club appearances.

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane

Republic of Ireland's all-time record goalscorer who also scored 355 goals in 737 club appearances.