Robbie Keane has officially been named the LA Galaxy captain for this year. It's a role he's played with Ireland, and he's worn the armband a number of times on the pitch for the Galaxy. He doesn't feel it's going to change his approach with the rest of the players at all.
"No, not at all," Keane said. "I'll always be the same person that I am. Wearing the armband on a regular basis is not gonna change that. I'll be the same."
It's no secret that Keane is vocal on the pitch. He'll give it to a teammate, he'll give it to the referee. There's the arms out forward "give me the ball" gesture, the arms outstretched "what just happened is terrible" gesture. For Keane, being a captain is about doing what he's been doing.
"It's about being a leader on the pitch and off the pitch, telling people to do their job. Without being captain, I'm that kind of person anyway."
Whether his teammates see their job description the same way Keane sees their job description is another matter altogether, however being right my not be relevant. Being vocal, engaging the younger players can bring out the best in them, even if it's just in the spirit of proving the leader wrong.
"I like people around me to do better and to be better. I only do it to help the team, help the guys around me to become better players. For me that's the most important thing, that people respect you and look up to you. I'm not one of these people to go behind people's backs, talk about them. If I've got something to say, I'll say it straight to your face."
This is why Keane being named captain has made so much sense. No one doubts how much Donovan has been the leader on this team, everyone's read the book on how Donovan felt Beckham wasn't doing enough to lead while Beckham had the armband. The problem is Donovan isn't in camp, the new rookies haven't even met him. How can they see him as their leader?
Keane's been in camp, he'll be the one getting players in the right frame of mind in the locker room, in managing the energy on the pitch on Sunday. He also has the right attitude about the captaincy.
"As a senior player, as an experienced player, you tell someone on the pitch and as soon as you walk off the pitch it's finished. That's the way I've been brought up. I've been in teams since I was seventeen with a lot of big players, a lot of senior players, who gave me good rollickings for a long time, for a few years. For me it made me a lot stronger, made the person that I am now. You learn from these experienced players, who've been around the block a few times. If I can help the players then great."
Sometimes the captain has to scold people during the game. If Keane thinks someone is dogging it or isn't hitting his marks, he has to say something. It's the job of the captain, and it's something earned internally. It's something that every veteran player has to bring to the club.
"Whether it's me or Mike Magee or any of the senior players, you're not doing it to disrespect anybody, you're doing it to help someone become a better player."
Looks like Keane is ready for the role.