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Seán eyeing a new start

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Republic of Ireland's Sean St. Ledger. Picture: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland's Sean St. Ledger. Picture: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland's Sean St. Ledger. Picture: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

ONE YEAR AGO today, Seán St Ledger came up with what was the only bright spot from Ireland's dismal showing at Euro 2012 when he scored against Croatia, Ireland's only goal of the tournament.

Tomorrow, the defender will hope to strike another blow when he lines out against Spain in a friendly in New York.

There's not much riding on the game as Ireland and Spain come to Yankee Stadium feeling fatigued after a long international season – the Spanish were also in action over the weekend, beating Haiti 2-1 in Florida on Saturday night.

But for a number of Irish players the Spain game is a stage to show off their talents to prospective employers and St Ledger is certainly one of them.

He is under contract to Leicester City until 2014 but the defender, who spent time on loan to Millwall last season, has spoken of his desire to leave the club and move on.

"The Spain game is a good stage to play on as a lot of managers will be watching. It's great to play against a side like Spain, great to test yourself against those players," St Ledger told the Herald.

"My own future is still up in the air, I have a year left on my contract at Leicester, I am due back there for pre-season and if nothing happens over the next month I will be back at Leicester for next season.

"I enjoy being at Leicester and I would be happy to stay there if that was the case, but it could be out of my hands."

Once Friday's game against the Faroes was out of the way a number of players exited the Ireland camp as, for varying reasons, Marc Wilson, Jonathan Walters, Aiden McGeady, Wes Hoolahan, Keiren Westwood, Richard Dunne and John O'Shea joined the already-departed Shane Long.

 

Disrupted

But St Ledger was keen to head to New York. His club season was severely disrupted by injury so the defender was keen to get in as many games as possible.

"My season has only just got started, with the injury problems I had all season.

"With the Championship starting back earlier than other leagues I am back in for pre-season early enough, July 1st, so it won't be much of a break for me," he says.

"But I was more than happy to go to New York with the squad. It was a big deal for me to get back into the Irish side at the end of the season and play in the two games, against England and the Faroes.

"It was a nice vote of confidence in me from the manager to put me into the team for the qualifier but Richard Dunne is back fit now and that's great to see. We will see how the team is set up when we play the next qualifiers in September," he added.

 

Hard

St Ledger had one of his quieter days in an Ireland shirt in the 3-0 win over the Faroes but said it was still a hard game to play in.

"Games like this are a lot more difficult than people think," he said. "It was easy enough at the back for long periods but then, because it is so easy, you can let yourself make mistakes.

"You don't really look forward to games like this, you are expected to win well and score lots of goals and that's not easy when the opposition put 10 men behind the ball.

"The Faroes put up more of a fight on Friday than Georgia did the previous Sunday and you have to give them a lot of credit.

"We got the three points, three goals and a clean sheet – you can't ask for much more than that. We got what we deserved."


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