Robbie Keane is confident he can score goals at the Euro 2016 finals, despite fast approaching his 36th birthday.
The LA Galaxy striker is the Republic of Ireland’s record goalscorer, netting 67 times in 143 senior appearances, although all five of those he scored in qualification for France came against minnows Gibraltar.
Shane Long, who blasted Ireland to a famous victory over Germany to rekindle their hopes of making the finals, has rather taken over Keane’s mantle in recent months, but the 35-year-old is confident he can still cut it at the top level.
He said: “Yes, of course, there’s no question about it. Just because I’ve been around for a long, long time - there are other players at this tournament who are the same age as me, but maybe started their careers internationally a little bit later than I did.
“There are certainly goals left in me, there’s no question about that. I’ve been doing it since I was 17 years of age and I’ve continued to do it and I have been consistent in doing that, so there’s no question about that.
“I’m fairly confident in my ability when given the opportunity. First and foremost, I’ll do my best for the team, but if there’s a chance there, hopefully I’ll take it.”
Keane will hope to get his chance as the Republic launch their Group E campaign against Sweden at the Stade de France on Monday evening, although he could be forgiven for having mixed feelings about his return to the Saint Denis venue.
Back in November 2009, his first-half goal dragged Ireland right back into their World Cup play-off against France only for Thierry Henry’s handball to set up an equaliser for William Gallas.
Asked for his memories of that night, Keane said: “I’d forgotten about it until you brought it up there. Clearly I remember.
“It’s something that, like any game that you’ve played before, you have to forget about it as soon as possible because this is a completely different situation.
“We are playing against completely different team and as a group of players, and certainly me and the coaching staff, we are fully focussed on the Swedish game.
“I’m not one to dwell on the past, I am just looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”