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KEANE ON KING

Posted on 28 December 2007  - 12:00

Robbie Keane was more than happy to hand the skipper's armband back to Ledley King - a player whose presence he insists lifts the team.

Robbie Keane was more than happy to hand the skipper's armband back to Ledley King - a player whose presence he insists lifts the team.In-form striker Robbie - 14 goals so far this term, 10 in the Premier League - has relished his captain’s duties but said all along that he was simply keeping the armband safe for Ledley’s return.

That return came against Fulham on Boxing Day when Ledley led the side out for the first time since the last day of last season - a knee injury keeping our longest-serving player sidelined since back-to-back England internationals in June.

Typically, he hardly put a foot wrong in a dominant 5-1 victory at the Lane.

“Ledley’s brilliant, a fantastic player and proved against Fulham how vital he is to this team,” said Robbie, whose two goals took him to the century mark in the Premier League, only the 13th player to do so.

“When he’s fit he gives us so much confidence.

“You look back, see him in defence and when he plays he brings a calmness to the back four. That showed against Fulham, the players around him all lifted their games as well.

“Hopefully he’ll stay fit now through to the end of the season because he’s such an important player for us.”

Reading provide our next opposition at the Lane on Saturday and Robbie expects a similar battle to last season, when the sides were only separated by his penalty.

“Steve Coppell’s done a fantastic job there and they are a tough side to beat,” added Robbie. “They went to West Ham and got a draw with 10 men and that’s not an easy place to go to, so they will come here with a lot of confidence.

“We’ll worry about ourselves though and there is no doubt that if we play to our potential, we will get something out of the game.”