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Posted on 6 April 2006  - 12:00

Chris Hughton believes we are currently witnessing the best of Robbie Keane.

Chris Hughton believes we are currently witnessing the best of Robbie Keane.

The hugely popular striker has scored seven goals in his last seven games, taking his tally to 14 for the season so far and his all-round performances are matching the quality of his strike-rate.

"He is getting himself in the right positions to get on the end of things," considered Chris. "We always have been well aware of the quality he shows in front of goal and the calmness.

"That is what we expect of him and, in the periods where he wasn't playing, he always showed a good attitude and was always prepared to work hard. I think it is a lesson for everybody, we have difficulties at this club the same as everywhere else, and it is hard at times to pick your best X1.

"It is part and parcel of the game to be disappointed when you are not playing and the best way to change that is to work hard and approach your training with the right attitude. If you do that at some stage you will get your opportunity - then it is up to the individual to try and keep it."

The 25-year-old is has proved himself as real leadership material this season, getting around his teammates before kick-off for a little pep talk and to offer encouragement. Chris suspects we are also reaping the benefits of his appointment as captain of the Republic of Ireland national side.

"I think that comes with age and maturity," added the coach. "He is not that old but he seems to have been around for a very long time and considering he had other clubs before coming here, he seems to have been at Spurs for a good while.

"I think it is testament to Robbie and what he means to everybody around him. I think it is also to do with what he has done for Ireland in scoring so many goals. It has given him a bigger presence and being the captain now can make you grow as a player and an individual.

"At the moment we are seeing all the benefits from it."