Determined O'Dea ready to play central role in Skopje
DARREN O'Dea came through his audition for a starting place against Macedonia unscathed and has declared himself fit for Saturday's crucial Euro 2012 qualifier.
The defender injured his ankle playing for Ipswich a month ago and there were concerns he wouldn't make it back in time for the end-of-season internationals, which would leave Ireland perilously short of defensive options. But having played for 66 minutes against Scotland in a makeshift back four, the Dubliner is confident he will be ready for Skopje, despite suffering some pain.
And although he is due to marry on June 16, there was no way he was missing out on this opportunity to stake a claim for the jersey in Richard Dunne's absence. "I'm actually fine, but I'm sore," he said. "They were talking about giving me an injection at half-time but decided against it as I was only going to play another 15 minutes.
"That (coming off) was always the plan, 60-65 minutes. I didn't want to come off as it was a good game to be involved in. But it was best for my body and I'll feel the benefit of this game.
"I was desperate to be involved. With Richard Dunne being suspended I felt I had a chance of being involved. I'm delighted that I played and hopefully I'll be involved at the weekend."
O'Dea says he is open to the idea of leaving Celtic this summer if he is not going to be a regular starter and while he has another year on his contract, the 24-year-old is open to a move. And that means a start against Macedonia is his last chance to impress potential suitors before the summer.
"I have a year left at Celtic and I'm waiting to see what happens in the summer," he said. "Nothing really happens between now and the start of pre-season so my only aim is to do well with Ireland. If I'm at Celtic or not I don't know."