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Andy O'Brien returns to Leeds following treatment for depression

Republic of Ireland international Andy O’Brien will resume training with Leeds United this week, the club said this afternoon.

O'Brien celebrates a goal against Hull City in November 2010 (file photo).
O'Brien celebrates a goal against Hull City in November 2010 (file photo).
Image: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/Press Association Images

ANDY O’BRIEN WAS battling depression when he told manager Simon Grayson that he no longer wished to play for Leeds United, the club revealed today.

O’Brien, 32, will resume training this week after a disciplinary investigation found that the former Republic of Ireland international was “not in a right state of mind” when he refused to play against Burnley on 17 November last year.

Leeds subsequently discovered that the defender has been dealing with “a number of issues” since the start of the season, and that he had sought specialist medical treatment for depression at the Sporting Chance clinic.

In a statement released this afternoon, the club pledged to facilitate any further treatment which O’Brien requires, and appealed to fans to give him their full support as he works his way back into the first team.

“We were exceptionally disappointed when Andy refused to play before the Burnley game and felt let down,” the club said.

It is now apparent that there were a number of issues that he was dealing with at that time which affected him in a way we could not imagine and he was not in a right state of mind to make such decisions. On this basis we believe he deserves a second chance and we will do everything we can to assist him.

O’Brien joined Leeds last January following a short spell on loan at Elland Road from Bolton Wanderers.

Before walking out on the club in November, he made just three league appearances this season, and was jeered off the pitch by some of the home support following Leeds’ 3-2 Carling Cup win against Bradford.

Born in Harrogate, O’Brien has 26 full international caps and one goal for the Republic of Ireland.

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Niall Kelly

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