SEAN ST LEDGER says he’s as ready as he’ll ever be if called upon for Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Germany.
The Leicester defender hasn’t played for club or country since the first week of August due to a knee injury and missed the defeats against Sweden and Austria which ended Giovanni Trapattoni’s reign.
Richard Dunne and John O’Shea are both suspended for the trip to Cologne on Friday, leaving Noel King without his top central defensive pairing in his first game as interim manager.
Despite his lack of game time St Ledger, who won his 36th cap against Spain this summer, is the most experienced option available.
The 28-year-old is back in training but with Leicester flying high and third in the Championship, he hasn’t even been able to force his way onto the bench.
Manager Nigel Pearson has also brought in Spanish youngster Ignasi Miquel on loan from Arsenal and Polish international Marcin Wasilewski, upping the defensive competition and forcing St Ledger to consider another loan move.
“I’ve been back a few weeks now but obviously haven’t played so I’m pretty fortunate to be in the squad with the suspensions,” he admitted today after linking up with his international team-mates in Malahide.
“It’s down to me this week to work hard, get my head down and try to force my way into the starting 11.
I’m ready as I’ll ever be. It’s probably not an ideal situation, I haven’t played but sometimes things can’t always be perfect. I’m generally quite fit so hopefully that will keep me in good stead.
Though the memory of last year’s 6-1 humiliation in Dublin still stings, St Ledger is confident that Ireland have the quality to frustrate the Germans and hopefully nick a goal.
“We’re capable but we have to make sure as individuals we play to our best, and as a team we’re organised and work hard.
“We’re going to be under pressure, we’re the away team, but hopefully we can get a goal on the counter-attack and then defend for our lives.”
Having won all of his caps under Trapattoni, St Ledger was sorry that he didn’t have a chance to say goodbye in person when the Italian was sacked last month.
Fittingly given the recipient, he sent a text message instead.
“It was disappointing because I wasn’t in the squad so I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye properly. I texted to him to say thanks for everything you have done.
He gave me my chance and my best moments in football have happened here so I have got a lot to thank him for and I wish him well in the future.
Did Trap text him back?
“He just said thank you and good luck for the future.
“Nothing about mentality,” he laughed.