Robbie raring to go

Robbie Keane has been handed the No34 shirt at West Ham United and is hoping to wear it for the first time against Blackpool on Wednesday.

Keane will be competing alongside Carlton Cole, Frederic Piquionne and Demba Ba for a starting berth at Bloomfield Road but is determined to make a mark in east London. He has already settled into the squad and told the gathered media at Chadwell Heath that he was impressed with the "top-quality players" around him.

"It has been fine," said Keane. "The lads have been great and it is always nice to get the first couple of days out the way. You feel like you have settled right in then.

"This is an oppriotunity for me. The team are bottom and the only thing we can do is push up the table. I want to help us do that and avoid relegation.

"The spirit is fine. They are good lads, good characters and top-quality players also."

While acknowledging the manager would pick the starting XI against Blackpool, Keane said he had come to east London in the hope of playing. "I want to play football as much as I can.

"Football is a short career so you have to make the most. I am not one of those who wants to sit on the bench. I like to play football and i don't like to get paid for sitting on the bench. Even before I came here, I believed the club had the quality to stay up."