Doyle doing well in Denver, hopes for Ireland call

Kevin Doyle plans to get one over on compatriot Robbie Keane when the Irish strikers line up against each other in Major League Soccer on Saturday and hopes his move to the United States will boost his chances of an Ireland call-up.

Doyle, who arrived at the Rapids from English side Wolves in May, says his new team are getting the best out of him after finally playing him in his favoured central striker role.

Colorado are still dead last in the Western Conference but after three straight wins, with Doyle netting the winner in two of them, they have a realistic chance of clawing their way up the table and into a playoff spot.

Portland, with 32 points, currently occupy the sixth and final spot in the playoffs. Colorado are eight points behind.

"When I first arrived and was adapting to the team, they played me just behind the striker, however, in the last three games I have been moved up to my best position which is centre forward," he said.

"We are playing either a 4-5-1 or a 4-3-3 when in possession. I am the one in the middle, up front on my own, which is my favourite position, so I am enjoying that.

"In the first half of the season before I arrived there were a lot of draws and now thankfully we have some very important wins.

"We have given ourselves a chance now to sneak into the playoffs, which was everyone's goal at the beginning of the season."

Major League Soccer seems to be gaining in stature with each passing year, and has attracted some of the biggest names in the game this year such as Andrea Pirlo, Didier Drogba, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

With LA Galaxy next up at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Colorado, Doyle is relishing the opportunity to cross swords with Keane.

"If we win then I will meet up with Robbie for an hour afterwards, but if we lose then I will probably go home with my tail between my legs," he said.

County Wexford native Doyle, who has been capped more than 60 times, also hopes that his form in MLS will stand him in good stead when Ireland manager Martin O'Neill readies his squad for their remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Ireland are fourth in Group D on nine points, five behind leaders Poland, with four games remaining. They have their work cut out to grab one of two automatic berths or even a place in the playoffs.

"If I am playing and I am playing well, then it will certainly not hinder my chances of playing for Ireland, whether it helps it or not then you will have to ask the manager Martin O'Neill," he added.

"It will not do me any harm to be playing, enjoying myself and scoring some goals. I made the decision to come out here because it was good for my career and my family and I wanted to enjoy this experience, the decision was not made with how it would affect my international career."

While he is enjoying his new surroundings in Colorado, Doyle looked forward to an extended break back home, something he was not able to do for the last decade due to club commitments in England.

"The minute the season is done I will be on an Aer Lingus jet back to Wexford in Ireland to spend a month or two there with the kids and the family," he added.

"We couldn't do that during the 10 seasons in England so that will be a treat."