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Sean St Ledger desperate for return to Republic squad

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Sean St Ledger. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Sean St Ledger. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Sean St Ledger

Sean St Ledger

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Sean St Ledger. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SEAN St Ledger, an ever-present for Ireland and the team's only scorer at the finals of Euro 2012, admits that he faces a battle to win back a place in the Republic's squad, let alone the starting XI.

The defender's career has been on hold for over a year now. His last involvement with his country was when he played in the second game of Martin O'Neill's reign, a disaster for St Ledger as he was forced to withdraw due to injury in the first half of a scoreless draw in Poland.

And the former Preston man has not played at club level in 15 months because of the same injury injury problems. St Ledger has managed to sort out his club career as he joined Ipswich Town last month on a short-term deal and is now awaiting his debut for Mick McCarthy's side.

But resuming his Ireland career is still an aim for the 29-year-old.

"I was in the first squad with him so I've had a taste of the Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane era and I hopefully can get to sample that again and try and be a part of the squad to get to the Euros," St Ledger told 98FM's Now That's What I Call Sport show.

"There's no better feeling coming towards the end of the group when the games mean so much and you have a chance of qualifying."

But with Premier League defenders such as Damien Delaney and Paul McShane, as well as Championship regulars Shane Duffy and Stephen Kelly unable to get into the squad in recent months, St Ledger admits he has no guarantees.

TOUGH

"It's going to be tough to get back into the squad, never mind start," he says.

"I was obviously gutted to miss all the Ireland games and miss the start of this Euro campaign with not having a club, I'm hoping now with Ipswich to get back playing and get back in the squad."

St Ledger had a difficult spell of unemployment earlier this year, as he was without a club between his exit from Leicester City and last month's move to Ipswich as St Ledger was forgotten about in the fast-paced modern game.

"The hardest part was not having a club from July and me being fit and me knowing that I'm fit but everybody outside of football thinking I was still injured. People would ask me if I was fit and I would say yeah but nobody would take a chance on me," he admits.

"Football has changed in recent years and people seem to have shorter memories and look at how you have played in the last six months. People are now short term and want instant success and that's proved by how quickly managers are sacked.

"I always thought that I've always done ok for Ireland, I've made one or two mistakes and had bad games and I thought that maybe people would have seen that I've done it against some of the best players in the world but that doesn't seem to matter too much," added the defender, whose Ipswich side are just a point off the top in the Championship.


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