The two countries have not played since February 1995 when rioting England fans forced the abandonment of the game at Lansdowne Road with the Republic leading 1-0. A 14-year-old Keane was in the crowd that night and he understandably does not have fond recollections of the occasion.
He said: "I was a kid in the stand and I didn't think at this stage we would have a chance to play England. This is probably a bit long coming. To be totally honest with you, I think it should have happened a good few years ago, but for whatever reason, it hasn't happened to try to put to bed what happened a long time ago."
Heading into the match, Keane has told his Republic team-mates they will only be able to compete on the big stage if they learn how to deal with the best teams in the world.
The 32-year-old LA Galaxy striker will lead his country into the Wembley clash with the memory of last summer's poor showing at the Euro 2012 finals still fresh in his mind.
Croatia, eventual winners Spain and manager Giovanni Trapattoni's native Italy all made short work of the Irish in Poland and Ukraine as Keane and his colleagues found themselves on a steep and painful learning curve.
However, they will lock horns with their English counterparts for the first time in 18 years, with Keane confident that further exposure to some of the stronger sides in world football can only be of benefit.
He said: "They are a very, very strong team, we are well aware of that. They have quality players throughout the squad, players on the bench and players who haven't been called up. They are a good side, but it's a good test for us. It's important for us to pit our wits against top 10 teams in world to see where we are."
Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni echoed Keane's sentiments, believing that the Wembley clash will give him the opportunity to see how far his side have come.
"This will be a good opportunity to grow in personality and understand it's always possible to get a result against a stronger team. We know England is a stronger team, when we play against these strong teams we can really evaluate our improvement. I have always wanted to play against England since (Fabio) Capello was coach but there was no opportunity. I'm happy to have this opportunity now."