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Robbie Keane Betway blog: Maccabi Tel Aviv, Women’s World Cup 21 07 23

21 Jul | BY Robbie Keane | MIN READ TIME |
Robbie Keane Betway blog: Maccabi Tel Aviv, Women’s World Cup 21 07 23

The Betway ambassador and Irish football legend reflects on the first few weeks as head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, as well as discussing Ireland's debut at the Women's World Cup.

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Good experience in Tel Aviv

My first few weeks in Tel Aviv have been really enjoyable.

I’ve played here before for Ireland, but I was never able to spend much time in the city because you’re in and out. It’s absolutely beautiful.

It’s been an honour to take my first head coach job at Maccabi Tel Aviv as well.

I don’t think people back at home realise how big the club is. I certainly did, but I’m not sure from the outside.

Maccabi Tel Aviv is a huge club with a magnificent history, so taking the job here was a no-brainer.

One of the big reasons I came here was to have the opportunity to manage in UEFA competitions. This year we’re in the Europa Conference League, and if we do well in the league then there’s carrot of getting into the Champions League or Europa League.

I learned a lot working under Sam Allardyce at Leeds recently, and something I want to take into my career is his top-class man management. The respect and honesty with which he speaks to everyone is something I’ll always try and replicate.

He’s very similar to Mick McCarthy in that respect. They’re both managers who I respect, but the best piece of advice I’ve had is to be myself.

I can’t be either of them, I just have to be me and take advice where necessary. But I’ll be authentic, stick to my guns and play the way I want to play.

I couldn’t be happier with my backroom staff. I’ve surrounded myself with plenty of experience, as I think that’s important.

Rory Delap has come in as assistant coach, having been doing the same role at Stoke before I brought him to Tel Aviv. We played together with Ireland, so we know each other really well.

My other assistant Dave Sarachan has nearly 50 years of experience and I know him from my time at LA Galaxy, where he was also the assistant manager. We won the MLS Cup three times together in LA and I’m excited to try and replicate that success here.

Fitness coach Andy Liddell is another person I know well, having worked with him for the national team, while analyst Phil Hudson has 12 years of experience with Middlesbrough.

Come on you Girls in Green!

I’m really excited to see what Ireland can do in the Women’s World Cup for the first time.

Captain Katie McCabe is a good friend of mine and we’re from the same area, so she’s someone I’m looking forward to watching.

Katie and No. 10 Denise O’Sullivan are players who can score goals and deserve a lot of respect.

The whole country is buzzing, and this gives a generation of young girls coming through a big lift and hopefully something to aim for in the future.

My nieces are a great example of that. They’re already playing football and wearing their jerseys all the time to support the team.

Having a team compete in Australia and New Zealand can be an inspiration for them. It’s going to be huge for the next generation of women’s football in Ireland.

I’m very lucky to have played in a World Cup for my country, so I know what the team are experiencing now and how significant it could be for them.

This could change their lives, that’s exactly what happened to me. People still ask me about my goal against Germany in 2002, and the players today could create something similar.

I think the strongest claims to win are probably from USA and England, but I really hope Ireland can do it. It’ll be tough but you never know in football.

Arsenal will push City

I’ve got to say Manchester City are my early front runners for the Premier League. Even with some of their potential departures, I still think they’re a bit too good for any other challengers.

Arsenal will push them again, especially with the business they have done. Business-wise, they have been the most impressive, and they’ve got it done early.

Declan Rice is a massive signing, he’s going to have a huge influence on and off the pitch.

Tottenham, on the other hand, have a lot of work to do in terms of getting players in.

I’m excited about James Maddison though. He’s the kind of player that Spurs haven’t had for a while. He’s clever, can score goals, get assists and pick up pockets of space. He could link up really well with Harry Kane.

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.