I'm just warming up, says four-goal Keane

ROBBIE Keane has delivered a stark warning to the rest of the Premier League after his fantastic foursome on Saturday – he doesn t tend to reach his best until October. It is hard to see how the Republic of Ireland international could improve...

By Ben Pearce

ROBBIE Keane has delivered a stark warning to the rest of the Premier League after his fantastic foursome on Saturday - he doesn't tend to reach his best until October.

It is hard to see how the Republic of Ireland international could improve, with Saturday's goal glut coming three days after another scoring appearance against Preston in the Carling Cup.

But Keane insists that he is only now starting to pick up the pace and suggests that - if past seasons are anything to go by - he is still to find top gear.


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"I normally start off slow, usually October I start kicking on a bit," he said. "But luckily I have six now and I'm pleased with that. I've started better than previous years goals-wise. All the strikers have six or seven and we know we can score goals, it's important for the team."

In fact, while Jermain Defoe has six Spurs goals to his name this season, Peter Crouch has 'just' five, having supplemented his tally in stunning style last Wednesday with a superb hat-trick against Preston.

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That left Keane's place in Harry Redknapp's side in doubt on Saturday and - although the Lilywhites' team captain fully justified his selection - he admits that Crouch could not have done any more to dsplace him against Burnley.

"There's no question about it, I said to Crouchy before the game he must be disappointed - he scored a hat-trick and was on fire last Wednesday," said Keane.

"But the manager said he was picking a team he thinks can beat Burnley, with movement down the sides and getting it into the striker's feet. Clearly that was the way we played and we won the game.

"With the players we have here there are times you are going to be left out. If we want to progress and do well as a team and push into that top four we have to have other lads playing ahead of you.

"Crouchy got left out and could easily have moaned or sat in the corner with his head down, but he was around to wish the boys well and had a happy smile on his face like he always has.

"If we want to progress we need players in the dressing room like that. There will be times I will be left out, or Jermain or [Roman] Pavlyuchenko. You have to help the lads that are in the team. Crouchy was brilliant about it."

And Keane also paid tribute to Aaron Lennon, who set up his second goal on Saturday, adding to a steady stream of goals and assists since the start of the campaign.

"Aaron is on fire at the moment, his pace is unbelievable," he said. "People talk about his end product but this season his assists have been unbelievable. He got two against Preston and set me up against Burnley. His goals are top class too. He is maturing into a top, top player."

On Saturday, Keane was able to celebrate his first club hat-trick since December 2003 when he netted three against his former club Wolves at White Hart Lane.

But he insists that the defensive performance against Burnley was just as important, as the Lilywhites recorded their fist clean sheet of the season at the ninth attempt.

"It was nice to score but the most important thing was the three points and the clean sheet," he said. "The last two league games we conceded six goals and were disappointed with that, so the lads were buzzing after the game about the clean sheet.

"We know with the players we have that we'll always score goals, it was a convincing win for us. But we have to defend as a unit and not concede goals - that was the pleasing thing about the win against Burnley."

Saturday's victory also took Spurs back into the top four, with 15 points from seven games, ahead of this weekend's trip to Bolton.

"Things are looking good, we've been fantastic," he said. "It could be open. I think some teams are capable of beating anyone.

"Man City, the top four and ourselves and Aston Villa - they are beating the other top four teams. Look at Wigan beating Chelsea, you wouldn't have heard that two seasons ago. Hopefully it will be exciting.

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