Derby County's Richard Keogh reflects on 600 career appearances

Richard Keogh has played for nine different clubs.
Richard Keogh has played for nine different clubs.

Richard Keogh says he hopes to have plenty more appearances left in him as he reflected on reaching the 600 mark at the weekend.

The recent match against Wigan Athletic saw Keogh reach the landmark number, achieved through spells with nine different clubs.

And as he told RamsTV, it seems a long time since the first of them back in 2004.

He said: "I was a youngster at Stoke City and they sent a few players out on loan to Iceland quite frequently to aid their development. I played a few games for Vikingur which helped me grow up quite quickly and was a great experience.

"Signing for Bristol City was then great for me and I got man of the match on my debut too so things got off to a good start."

Three years at Ashton Gate saw Keogh in and out of the side and loaned out to four different clubs in his time there.

He said: "My last year there wasn't great for a few reasons and I fell out of love with football a bit. There were things I could have done better myself - I was young and bit naive at the time and I didn't help myself - but it was part of the learning process and I was out on loan at quite a few places because I wanted to play, but I didn't enjoy it.

"I'd been at Carlisle on loan and did well there and tried to get a permanent deal in the January but it didn't happen. That summer I managed to get Bristol City to let me go there and I owe a lot to John Ward, the manager there, for allowing me to go.

"I'd just met my wife so it was a big move for both of us and it was great. I love the club, got my head down and started enjoying football again and I had a great rapport with the fans. Getting to Wembley was a highlight although we lost to a very talented Southampton team. Winning player of the year and being ever present in my final season there was great and helped get me a move to Coventry."

Keogh played nearly a century of games for the Sky Blues before the Rams came knocking in July 2012, and it would prove to be the start of a long love affair with Derby and their fans.

He said: "I had a few options that summer but I spoke to Nigel Clough and Derby were very keen. I looked around the training ground and the stadium, met the owners who said they wanted me to be here which meant a lot, and the club really pushed the boat out and made it clear they wanted me and it felt the right place for me to be.

"It's been an amazing journey, including being called up to play for the Republic of Ireland which has been a huge honour, especially being named captain and playing in Euro 2016 which was something else. It was the best feeling as we'd all worked so hard to achieve it and it was an amazing experience. Beating Italy was a highlight.

"Football means a lot to me. I'm an emotional guy and wear my heart of my sleeve and don't like losing, so times like me crying after losing in the play-off final will happen.

"I just want to keep trying to get the best out of myself and squeeze every inch out of my career that I can as it goes by so quick. I look at guys like Ashley Cole who is still so hard-working and professional at 38 and given what he's achieved and he's great to look up to.

"It's about savouring the good moments, learning from the bad and getting the best out of yourself, and if both myself and the team are playing well then that will always mean more to me than how many games I end up playing."