Ready for takeoff: Infrastructure all that's holding A-League back, says Keogh
A haul of 13 goals and eight assists in both the FFA Cup and A-League has reignited the Irish International’s club career and helped sweep the WA outfit to the top of the league.
Keogh, who played in the English topflight with Wolverhampton Wanderers, says he’s been impressed with the quality of the domestic comp.
“I think the fresh challenge is what I needed,” Keogh told FourFourTwo.
“I’m feeling good and playing well, I still feel there is more to come and I can only get better as the more games I play.
“(The A-League) is very competitive, the players are very fit and it’s a very good standard of football.
“I think it’s only going to get better and, with a bit more investment in the infrastructure, it could really take off.
“In the future it could be a really attractive proposition for (overseas) players.”
Keogh said he looked Down Under for his next football gig after opportunities in England started to dry up.
“The contract situations in England are deteriorating at the minute and I wanted to do something different and go against the grain,” he said.
“It was a good opportunity as well to come over here and explore my options. I obviously did my research before I decided to sign here I was impressed with what I saw.
“I met the owner (Tony Sage) and CEO everything just seemed to fit.
“Obviously having family in Perth, as well the weather and lifestyle and, it all just came together and in the end it was an easy decision to be honest.”
Before losing to Adelaide United going into the Asian Cup break, Perth were unbeaten at home with six straight wins.
And it’s not only their home form that’s been impressive. At the same stage last season the Glory had won just one away game and lost four.
In contrast, this season they have won four on the road and lost one. Keogh says the reason for the turnaround is self-belief.
“Obviously I can’t tell the difference from last year but we’ve approached it with a good mentality (this season),” he said.
“We’ve approached it with good fitness levels training and good preparation before games. It’s all to do with people’s mindsets.
‘Maybe in the past the mindsets weren’t quite right - now we’ve got a group of players that believe in all that we want to do and that goes a long way to helping.”
Keogh says the club has also brought in the right combination of players.
“The club has recruited well and did their homework on what type of player they wanted to bring in and got it right, it’s as simple as that,” he said.
“Sometimes you can bring in players that are destructive to the change room and don’t fit with the group ethos. It’s worked with us and long may it continue.”
Keogh has represented Ireland in senior international football 30 times and while he still harbour’s hope of one day playing for his country again, the 28-year- old says he’s concentrating on picking up silverware with Glory.
“Of course (I want to play for Ireland again) but I think that’s a long shot,” he admitted.
“I’m not concentrating on that too much. I’m concentrating on my goals over here and establishing myself as a good player in the A League.
“My goal is to win things, and do well and I think with hard work and dedication the goals will come.”
Keogh has been involved in World Cup and European Qualifiers during his time with the Irish National team. His debut goal against Serbia, in Italian World Cup winning coach Giovanni Trapattoni’s first game in charge, won him goal of the year in Ireland. He’s also scored against football powerhouses Germany and Italy.
“My first goal (for Ireland) against Serbia, getting thrashed by Germany and also scoring, and my first competitive start against Italy are my standout moments playing for Ireland, “said Keogh.
For the football journeyman, who has lined-up for 10 different clubs since 2003, playing a season for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the EPL is the high-water mark.
“Making my debut for my country and scoring the goal that helped us (Wolverhampton Wanderers) get promoted (to the EPL) are my greatest achievement as a player,” he said.
“I don’t have any disappointments - I just have situations that have happened in my career that have been learning curves really.
“I picked up an ankle injury when I was at Wolves - you learn a bit more about your body then.
“You’re not just learning as a footballer your learning as a human being and a man.”
Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Check out Episode Four of his latest A- League Football Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.