Stephanie Roche has a few things to say about Robbie Keane's "ageing legs"

Ageing: Roche says Keane should think about stepping aside
Ageing: Roche says Keane should think about stepping aside

Stephanie Roche has challenged Robbie Keane on a proclamation he made several years ago regarding his international career.

In a column for the Independent, the 25-year-old quoted Keane as saying: "It is all about now and I've said before if I didn't play for Ireland and someone else came in, I have always said I would walk away."

The ladies' international says she was in no doubt at the time that Keane meant he would gladly give the jersey to a more deserving prospect.

She points out that the veteran international promised to call time on his Ireland career if a more suitable option up front came along. Roche believes that time has come. 

"That interview four years ago was his genuine honesty shining through but maybe the time has come to fulfil that promise", she said. 

"Keane still has so much to offer his country but those aging legs will not get any quicker. The time has come for something fresh in attack.

"I have dreaded the day I was going to say this, but it’s time to fulfil that promise of four years ago and make way for someone else Robbie", she added. 

She goes on to say that Martin O'Neill, should he favour a 4-4-2 option against the Scots, would do better to look at choosing somebody "big and strong" for Robbie to feed off. 

Keane was visibly innocuous as the lone front man against the Poles last week and he will continue to struggle on his own up top. 

However, this is unlikely, Roche says. 

"It’s a game where O’Neill is unlikely to go with a 4-4-2 starting XI and this means that Keane should take his place on the substitutes bench", she said. "He would be a great option to come on and try and nick a goal later on in the game.

"Both Robbie and Shay are still integral parts of the Irish set up but we can’t be relying on them now.

"While they may find themselves playing a more peripheral role for Ireland in the future, other players now need to step up to the plate because at the moment there is no-one who seems willing to grab a game by the scruff of the neck and make themselves a hero."