The ex-Liverpool and Spurs striker has taken on a coaching role at Middlesbrough ahead of the new Championship season

Republic of Ireland legend Robbie Keane has outlined his expectations as he moves into coaching, but refused to discuss sensational stories from his stellar playing career.

Keane will be an assistant coach to Jonathan Woodgate at Middlesbrough in the Championship next season as two players who have played at the very top of the game look to make names for themselves from the dugout.

In an interview with Daily Mail, Keane made it clear he wanted the focus to be on his new job and not salacious gossip from his 21 years on the pitch.

“What the f*ck?!,” the 39-year-old said when he was asked if he would sing for the players he will coach.

“I’m not a clown. I’m not here to entertain people. What’s that got to do with me being a coach?

“I like a laugh and a joke. We don’t want people coming in here as miserable f*cks. We want them to be happy, but for it to be done properly. It’s a serious job we’re doing.”

The former Inter, Spurs and Liverpool striker was no happier when asked about rumours he took his Tottenham team-mates for a Christmas party without manager Harry Redknapp’s knowledge or permission.

“I’m not answering these stupid questions,” he responded. “If you want to talk about me being here, no problem, but I’m not getting into cr*p questions like that.

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“I’m not interested. Why talk about that. This isn’t about that. It’s about me being at Middlesbrough.”

True to his word, Keane was less combative when the subject turned to how he sees himself helping the players at his club.

He said he wanted to allow players to play with freedom, as he did, as ‘clever and cheeky’ players win games.

“You’ll have to ask the players [if I’ll be a good coach],” he said.

“I know the game. I can help strikers and defenders because I’ve played against defenders for 21 years. I will demand the very best from players, it’s all about high standards.

“I want players to express themselves, like I did. We want players to have no fear, don’t be frightened to try things. We don’t want them to be robots.

“Use your imagination, be clever and cheeky around the box. Those are the players who win games. We will encourage that freedom. Then, it’s up to them.”

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