Robbie Keane insists that he is not looking for a way back to the Premier League, even after giving notice that he may have a future at the highest level here after all, barely five months after appearing to signal a winding-down of his career by joining David Beckham and Thierry Henry in America.
Keane's two high-quality goals against the first of his 10 clubs were not the only factor in Aston Villa's winning recovery against luckless Wolves but they prompted the Villa manager, Alex McLeish, to declare an immediate interest in signing the Republic of Ireland striker on a permanent deal. Yet Keane, who is with Villa on a six-match loan, says that he is not contemplating a change of heart over the reported £3.5m deal he signed with Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy in August, even if he adds more goals to a Premier League tally that now stands at 125.
"My record is there and no one is going to take away the goals I scored before I left," he said. "But it was my choice to go over there and I haven't really missed the Premier League. I'm only here for a short time. I wasn't looking to come back [when I signed for Villa]. But it was too long a time for me to be sitting around waiting for pre-season and I wanted to start playing again."
McLeish is unlikely to be alone among managers in sizing up Keane, whose move followed his failure to attract another Premier League deal after his loan from Tottenham to West Ham ended in May. If Keane does find himself tempted, his decision might be seen as testing the credibility of Major League Soccer.
Given the Galaxy's current interest in Frank Lampard – at 34 this year in a similar age bracket to Beckham, 36, and Henry, who will be 35 in August – many will still see MLS as little more than a lucrative circuit for waning stars. Yet Keane moved only a month after turning 31, soon after claiming he had "four or five years left" at the highest level.
The Irish forward never celebrates goals against former clubs and his muted response to Saturday's strikes – both from outside the penalty area – was not from particular sympathy for Wolves, even though they palpably deserved it. Behind to an early Darren Bent penalty, they stormed back through goals by Michael Kightly and Dave Edwards, only to lose the dominant Emmanuel Frimpong to an eye injury before Karl Henry was shown a red card for aiming a sly kick at Marc Albrighton, allowing Villa to take the points.
Wolves: HENNESSEY 6/10; FOLEY 6; JOHNSON 7; BERRA 6; WARD 6; KIGHTLY 7; HENRY 7; FRIMPONG 8; JARVIS 6; EDWARDS 7; FLETCHER 6
Aston Villa: GIVEN 7; CLARK 5; DUNNE 6; COLLINS 6; HUTTON 7; PETROV 7; GARDNER 6; ALBRIGHTON 6 ; KEANE 8; AGBONLAHOR 6; BENT 7
Scorers: Wolves Kightly 21, Edwards 31. Aston Villa Bent 11 pen, Keane 51, 84. Substitutes: Wolves Milijas 6 (Frimpong, 58), Stearman (Edwards, 82), Ebanks-Blake (Foley, 90). Aston Villa Warnock 7 (Agbonlahor, h-t), Bannan (Gardner, 87), Weimann (Keane, 90). Booked: Wolves Kightly. Aston Villa None. Sent off: Wolves Henry (75). Man of the match Keane. Match rating 8/10. Possession: Wolves 50% Aston Villa 50%. Attempts on target: Wolves 9 Aston Villa 5.
Referee M Atkinson (W Yorkshire). Attendance 27,084.Reuse content