-Jason Davis

There might not be a better way to sum up this Robbie Keane-related news from Ireland than the way the inimitable Phil Schoen did on Twitter (which is how I learned of it, hence a hat tip goes to Phil, whom I suggest you follow).

It might be the first time a big name player has been told a move to MLS would help him STAY on the national team.

Have we turned a corner? If a first choice international from respectable footballing nation is told that playing in MLS is better than sitting on the bench in the Premier League, maybe we're taking small steps towards some kind of reputation breakthrough.

There is a small problem with the story and Giovanni Trapationi's entreaty for Keane to find somewhere else to play - even MLS - if he wants to stay in the Ireland National Team picture. Trapattoni is focused on Ireland's Euro qualifier with Macedonia in March, and suggests that Keane won't be first choice if he isn't getting clubs matches for the next two months. The qualifier is on March 26th. The MLS season kicks off a week before.

So even if Keane hops the pond to sign up with an MLS squad (rumors of which have died down to nothing), he'd only get one league game before Ireland play Macedonia (it would also mean missing his hypothetical MLS club's second match of the season). I guess getting first team games from there on might get Keane back in the Ireland mix, but I'm not sure Trapattoni full grasped the American calendar. Keane coming to the US to get games between not and the end of March doesn't make any sense, because we don't get started until then.

"I spoke with him, when he could go to America (he was linked to Canadian-based MLS side, Vancouver Whitecaps), and I said, 'you go.' He said to me also, 'Maybe I go to Birmingham, the first I go to is Aston Villa.'

Oh well. It was nice of Trapattoni to give MLS a little love. Even if it's just Ireland, and even if it's a rapidly declining Robbie Keane we're talking about, a step is a step is a step. We should be taking whatever backhanded compliments we can get, even if it boils down to "it's a place to play."

Incidentally, Trapattoni seems to be particularly keen on America's soccer efforts, so it's really not surprising he would tell his star striker that MLS is decent enough place to play if Keane wants to keep his Ireland spot.

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