Robbie Keane believes the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United will take the young England players at Old Trafford to the next level.
The 36-year-old Ronaldo arrived in Manchester for the second time in his career this week following his exit from Juventus, where he scored 101 goals in just over three seasons.
The Portugal international immediately made the headlines following his move after scoring two vital goals in the dying minutes in their 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Republic of Ireland to get three points and break Ali Daei’s International goalscoring record.
Keane told the PA news agency: “The younger players around him, you’ll see them grow now even more just because they’re around his presence.
“You know he won’t accept that the lads are doing it the wrong way. For example if I’m Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, I would be watching Ronaldo every day.
“How does he train? How does he prepare himself? Because it’s like an education for them, for someone who’s been the best player in the world for however many years.
Ronaldo departed Old Trafford for Real Madrid in 2009 at 24 years of age and went on to win several World Player of the Year awards amongst Champions League and Spanish title wins.
Asked about claims he was past his best, Keane said: “His mentality is completely different and the reason why he’s still playing at 36 years of age, the reason why he’s in that unbelievable shape.
“Unfortunately he scored two goals in the last few minutes against Ireland, which was gutting for me, but that just goes to show how good he is and how important he is to Portugal and obviously now to Man Utd. I’ve got no doubt he could finish top goalscorer in the Premier League.”
Keane will be managing alongside Harry Redknapp at the Etihad in the Soccer Aid for UNICEF celebrity charity match on September 4 and will be coaching a team which includes Roberto Carlos, Nigel De Jong, Shay Given, Patrice Evra and Usain Bolt.
The 41-year-old said: “I’m excited, it’s great to obviously have fans back, we realised in the last 18 months how important fans are, last Soccer Aid was played in front of no crowd so I’m really looking forward to it.”
* Soccer Aid for UNICEF is live from 6:30pm, Saturday 4th September at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, exclusively on ITV and STV. This year, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) will match donations, meaning every £1 raise or donated becomes £2 – up to £6.3 million. Donate now at Socceraid.org.uk/donate
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