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Monday 19 February 2018

Ledley can see reasons behind Bellamy's Celtic snub

Ewing Grahame

Former Cardiff midfielder Joe Ledley is disappointed that his international team-mate Craig Bellamy elected to step down to the Championship instead of joining him at Celtic.

Hoops manager Neil Lennon tried to convince the striker that a return to Parkhead, where he won the Scottish Cup in 2005 while on loan from Newcastle, would benefit him more than signing for Cardiff.

Bellamy eventually moved back to Wales for family reasons after being omitted from Manchester City's 25-man squad for the Premier League, however, and Ledley respects the reasoning behind that choice.

"I know why Craig went to Cardiff," said the 23-year-old. "It's where he is from and it is close to his family, so that's the main reason. Cardiff also have a good chance of going up so, while I'm disappointed by his decision, I wish him well."

Ledley was deployed in Celtic's rearguard during Thursday night's 2-0 win over FC Utrecht in the first leg of their Europa League play-off round.

It is a role he is not particularly comfortable in but he is prepared to fill in for the good of the team and will probably occupy the slot at home to St Mirren tomorrow.

"I've only played at left-back once or twice in my career before and it is all new to me," he said. "But if I am told to do a job for my team, I try to do it to the best of my ability.


"The manager knows that left-back is not my position, but Charlie Mulgrew pulled out on the morning of the match through injury.

"We've signed a left-back in Emilio Izaguirre, but it may take a little while for him to gel into the squad, so I'll have to the job for now.

"It's good to have everyone fighting for places. The manager has brought a lot of midfielders into the squad, so, hopefully, I can do the job for him when he needs me at left-back and then see what happens."

Celtic's victory leaves them favourites to claim a place in the more lucrative group phase of the tournament and Ledley also revealed that it was the prospect of prolonged spells of European competition which convinced him to relocate to Scotland during the summer.

"The reason why I joined this club was to have the opportunity to be playing European football," he said. "Obviously, our aim is to get into these group stages and we have got off to a good start with the result in the first leg against Utrecht.

"We have to knuckle down for Sunday's SPL game against St Mirren. It was much better against Utrecht. I think the performance was much better and we all want to keep going in European football."

Lennon may also struggle to fill the right-back berth tomorrow. Andreas Hinkel's anterior cruciate ligament injury at training has ruled him out for the rest of the reason while Cha Du Ri sustained hamstring damage against Utrecht. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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