O'Brien to replace St Ledger


Soccer:Republic of Ireland defender Seán St Ledger has been ruled out of this month’s friendly against Serbia after picking up a knee injury. The centre back will be replaced in the squad by West Ham defender Joey O’Brien, who will join the squad on August 12th before the game in Belgrade three days later.

St Ledger’s omission comes after he sustained the injury during Leicester’s pre-season fixture at Burton Albion and means Giovanni Trapattoni will be without his first choice central pairing in defence, after Richard Dunne was originally rested and subsequently confirmed as injured.

It’s been four years since O’Brien’s last call-up and at one stage he warned he would consider his international future if Trapattoni continued to ignore him.He played three times under previous manager Steve Staunton but has not featured since.

“I love playing for my country, love meeting up and I have great friends,” O'Brien, 22 at the time, said in October 2008. “But I don't like walking around in a track suit saying, 'I play for Ireland'. I'm like a fan in a tracksuit.

“I'm gutted about the whole thing. The manager is the manager and he's a great manager, but I'm not in his plans.”

He added: “From a personal point of view, I am looking at the manager and I don't know if he comes to watch the games I play or what.

“You don't know how far you are down the list, and that makes it hard.”

With Bolton at the time, the versatile defender, who can also play in midfield, added: “There's no point in going over there, training twice a day for a few days just to sit in the stand like a fan.

“Apart from the last couple of weeks with Bolton, I've never been dropped unless I had injuries.

“I'm used to playing in the Premiership and the Uefa Cup, so to go over and play and train under a management where it seems they don't know your name...I'm definitely going to have to look at the situation.

“It's a bit away from walking out completely, but I'm not going to keep going if I'm sitting in the stand.”

Ireland face Serbia on August 15th and kick off their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign with a trip to face Kazakhstan in Astana on September 7th.

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