Robbie Keane still shooting the lights out for LA Galaxy

It was near midnight on Sunday when Robbie Keane went silently into the record books.

He may, for many Irish fans, be out of sight in Major League Soccer, but the LA Galaxy Twitter account reminded us once more that he should not be out of mind when it comes to thoughts of next summer’s Euro 2016 squad.

Named, for the fourth consecutive time, in MLS team of the season, it was pointed out that Keane’s .87 goals per 90 minutes is the highest in MLS history of any player who has played more than 1,000 minutes.

In some ways, Keane has become Ireland’s Michael Schumacher. He’s broken so many records and set so high a bar the Tallaght man is almost resented.

Steven Gerrard, David Villa, Thierry Henry, Kaka – will any of those global superstars leave the mark on MLS Keane does? Will any Irish player ever come close to his 67 goals in 142 games? How long will he stay top of the European Championship qualifying competition goalscorers table? How many other Irish players will take part in three major tournament finals? 14 years apart?

Despite the list above, some believe it is up for debate whether Keane should be on the plane to France next year – with Martin O’Neill’s men showing fairly comfortably in the two-legged playoff against Bosnia that they could survive without their captain.

More kids will be named after Jon Walters in the next 12 months it appears, but for one former Ireland striker Robbie remains number one.

In what may be a pub quiz question to stump all but the very shiniest of footballing anoraks, Clinton Morrison is the answer to ‘what player has the highest goal-per-game average of any player to have been capped alongside Robbie Keane?’

Morrison’s nine goals from 36 caps puts him ahead of Walters, Shane Long, Kevin Doyle and any of the other 29 strikers capped since Keane made his bow against Czech Republic in 1998.

There have been over 180 senior internationals in that time.

O’Neill gets paid to make hard decisions, and in dropping Keane during the qualifying campaign he has shown no fear in doing so – but Morrison insists the captain has to be in France.

“I don’t think that’s even a question,” Morrison sniffed, “he’d be the first name on there for me, definitely. Maybe Walters and Long are ahead in terms of playing, but Robbie definitely has to be there.

“He’s a must, a definite, you can’t not have him there.

“He might not have the pace he once had, but his thinking in and out of the box is second to none and when you need a goal, he’s more likely than anyone else to get it.”

Keane turns 36 two days before next summer’s final in Paris, while Walters is 32, Daryl Murphy 33 in March and Shane Long turns 29 in January.

It’s a worryingly high age profile for the Irish front line, and Morrison admits he’s concerned by the lack of players pushing to steal a spot.

“It’s a hard one to see anyone outside of that group,” he said. “I’m not sure how many strikers Martin would take to France, maybe that four – Walters, Long, Robbie and Daryl.

“Outside of that it’s a toss up between David McGoldrick (28) and Kevin Doyle (32).

“There’s still a long way to go, and a young player might start scoring. I’ll have to get scouting and look around! “If McGoldrick sorts out his injuries, he could shock a lot of people. It’s tough for him at club level because Mick McCarthy’s brought in new players, but he can turn it on if he gets a run.”

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