For those of you who do not know him, Sean St. Ledger is an Irish defender who was once tipped to become one of the Premier Leagues elite. But now at 29 years of age, he is yet to play a game in the top tier of English football and at the moment he is without a club.
He began his career at Peterborough and broke into the first team with ease. His outstanding performances for the Posh made some top Premier League clubs take note and a successful spell at Preston North End led to Giovanni Trapattoni placing him in the Republic of Ireland’s international team. It was with the Irish side where his career moved on to the next level, scoring Ireland’s opener in the European Championship in 2012 against Croatia.
Unfortunately, injuries have been a constant since the beginning of the 2012/13 season and the setbacks seem to have simply demoralized Sean. After a promising start to last year, his season was over after just two games for his club. A brief return with his country in November saw him pick up yet another painful groin injury.
St. Ledger took part in reality TV show called Big Ron Manager back in 2006 and this left his reputation in tatters. The show portrayed St. Ledger as the classic egotistical footballer who only cared about money and fame. It was while he was at Peterborough and Ron Atkinson came into the club to help their promotion push from League Two, with the cameras having access to all areas. This really damaged St. Ledger’s name and it also meant that the big teams that had looked at him ended their interest. He was shown complaining about extra training and being played out of position, not to mention a dressing room bust-up with manager Steve Bleasdale. Sean has come out publicly in recent years stating that he has “grown up and matured” but also recognizes that he still hasn’t gotten rid of the bad boy tag as of yet.
High wage demands have been reported as another problem for the 29-year-old. At his previous club, Leicester City, he was rumored to be on just over £11,000 a week. This is considerably high wages for an injury prone defender who’s played just 10 league games over the last two seasons. It seems as if his previous wages cannot be matched by any of the clubs interested in him, and this is another reason why he is still a free agent almost half-way through the season.
Some are questioning whether he actually has the desire to play football anymore. He has sat on the bench for the majority of the last two years for club and country. He is now taking holiday after holiday, as seen on his Twitter and Instagram and it seems as if he’s almost given up hope on getting back to his previous best. Despite these exotic holidays, he still has been keeping up to date with events in the football world. He has been seen tweeting about the League of Ireland and suggested on more than one occasion that he would be open to a move there. Although it is a poor standard in comparison to the Premier League, it would be a new beginning and it does offer Champions League and Europa League football with certain clubs. He wouldn’t be the first big time Irish footballer to make this move to League of Ireland. Ex-Birmingham and Ireland midfielder Keith Fahey moved back to St. Patricks Athletic and also ex-Celtic, Sunderland and Ipswich Town player Colin Healy returned to his native Cork City in 2012.
A player of his ability shouldn’t waste potentially the best years of his career. The next year is pivotal for St. Ledger and the Irish media will be intrigued as to what transpires with this gifted defender.
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