St Ledger hopes to revive career in MLS by moving to US next year

Former Ireland defender left without a club is ‘frustrated’ and ‘anxious’ to play again

Former Republic of Ireland defender Sean St Ledger

hopes to move to the US in January after a proposed deal with Huddersfield Town fell through on deadline day in August, leaving him without a club for the first half of the current season.

The 29 year-old, who played just two games for Leicester City last season due to a combination of injury and inability to regain his place, was released by the club at the end of the season and is now trying to stay fit so that he is ready for the new year.

He told RTÉ yesterday that he had been confident the move to Huddersfield Town, who currently lie 16th in the Championship, would go through; that he has found it lonely and frustrating to be out of the game; and he remains anxious to return.


‘Taking all the risk’

“I was offered something but then it just didn’t happen,” he says. “I wasn’t happy [with the terms]. It was going to be more [incentive-based] and only a three-month contract so I felt I was taking all the risk.

"I said 'What happens if I pull my calf', but they were fine, [manager] Mark Robins said 'Okay we'll sort something out on Monday'. But then I woke up on Sunday morning and he'd got the sack or resigned.

“They said ‘We still want to sign you’, but as time started going on, I started wondering.

"We told them we had [also] some interest from America. "Then it was transfer deadline day and I'm watching it and I saw that they had signed Mark Hudson, another centre-half, and I didn't hear from them again. It feels like I've finished football. It's been the weirdest feeling ever. I've found this period really lonely.

“I ring my friends and say, ‘What have you been up to?’ and they say ‘I’ve been training, what about you?’

“I’ve just gone to the gym or gone to do Bikram Yoga and come home. I don’t really do anything because I’m obviously hoping that tomorrow I’m going to get a phone call.

“It’s been quite difficult. My family have been great. And the lads at Leicester, I still speak to them but it’s not the same. They’re going in day-in day-out, having the banter in the changing room and I’m just not a part of that.”

St Ledger, who scored three times in 37 appearances for Ireland, has done a little bit of promotional work with the FAI since the end of last season but after having been left on the margins of the club scene over the summer, he now sees MLS as his most likely way back.

“I still 100 per cent want to try and get a club,” he says. “It’s not been too great so far but you have to see the positive side of things. Hopefully, if I can go to America in January, that would be great.”

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times