Keane rises above 'slagging match'

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Robbie Keane will retain his "pride" with a dignified silence on his thoughts about Rafael Benitez, as he seeks to put his Liverpool debacle behind him.

The Republic of Ireland striker admits he found being left out of the Liverpool squad "difficult to take" - but is refusing to respond to Reds boss Benitez's claim that he was unable to cope with the pressure of being an Anfield player.

Keane told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek: "I'm one of those respectful persons - and I'm not getting into a slagging match. I've got more pride and dignity. I'll let people say what they want. I don't have to prove myself to anyone."

Keane returned to Tottenham on the final day of the transfer window following six unhappy months on Merseyside.

"The most disappointing thing was getting left out of squad (at Liverpool)," he said.

"I found it difficult to take, because it's the first time it's happened. Since I've been playing from the age of 17, I've never been left out for that reason.

"But that's gone now. The good thing is I'm at a fantastic club with a fantastic manager who respects his players - if you are doing well he tells you. That's something I'm looking forward to."

Keane, who scored just five goals in 19 Barclays Premier League appearances for the Reds before rejoining Spurs, added: "I believe things happen for a reason. Things didn't work out. But I'm a Tottenham player now - and I'm looking forward to the challenge of keeping them in the Premiership.

"At the end of the day, I love playing football. I'm not one of these players who are happy to pick up the wages and sit in the stand."

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Tottenham Hotspur
Robbie Keane
Premier League

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