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Villa leads the way in Audi Player Index

Five Aside
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 By Kevin Palmer

Robbie Keane defends MLS standard ahead of Steven Gerrard's arrival

Robbie Keane will be joined at the LA Galaxy by former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard once the Premier League season concludes.

LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane has rejected the suggestion that Major League Soccer is a retirement home for high profile European players playing out the final days of illustrious careers.

Keane has been a shining star in MLS since his arrival from Tottenham in the summer of 2011, with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard soon to join him at the Galaxy amid a growing presence of high profile former Premier League stars in America's top league.

Chelsea great Frank Lampard is also due to link up with New York City FC on July 1, and when Keane was prompted to respond to the idea that his move to MLS was a stage for fading players to earn a final pay day, he offered this response.

"I did not come out here to enjoy the beach, that's for sure," Keane told Sky Sports. "There is a lot of pressure on you as a designated player in MLS and I have certainly not taken my foot off the gas for a moment.

"You can see that because I have been a part of LA Galaxy teams that have won the MLS Cup a few times and that is not easy to win and the standard in MLS is rising all the time.

"You can now see how the league has grown, certainly with the players coming over here like Kaka and Stevie Gerrard. The league will only continue to grow and I believe in the next five, six years it could be a massive, massive league."

Keane confirmed he has been in regular contact with Gerrard ahead of his arrival at the Galaxy, as he suggested the presence of the iconic Liverpool captain will help to raise the profile of MLS to fresh levels.

"Stevie is going to be a huge addition to the squad," stated the Republic of Ireland national team's all-time record goal scorer.

"He is a fantastic player and he's a great lad also," Keane said. "I know by speaking to him that he's very, very excited and looking forward to it.

"It's a completely different challenge than what he's used to. I left Ireland when I was 15, he's been in Liverpool all of his life and he's never left there, so it will be different for him. I won't say it will be difficult for him to live in LA, but I know he's excited about it."

Keane -- who claimed the league's MVP award after scoring the winning goal in the last year's MLS Cup final -- also spoke about the prospect of lining up against his former club Tottenham for an MLS All Star side in Denver on July 29.

"To play against your former team and some former teammates is certainly exciting," Keane added. "I know the whole MLS league is excited to have Tottenham come over and play against us. It is certainly a club that I am remembered for most really and I've got great memories from my time at Spurs."

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