Preston’s Sean St. Ledger delighted to receive Ireland’s call
Sean St. Ledger expressed his delight at having to sacrifice some weeks of his end-of-season break in order to join the Republic of Ireland senior international squad.
The 24 years old defender has been in consistently good form for Preston this season and the reward was a call-up by Giovannia Trapattoni to the Ireland squad for the friendly match against Nigeria on May 29 at Craven Cottage, London.
“It’s a nice bonus” he told the Preston North End web-site, “I’ve been trying to get into the squad and to finally succeed means I am just delighted to be involved.
“It’s come as a bit of a surprise because I haven’t been involved all season and I think my form has been quite consistent.
“I didn’t really think I would get in but I was still hoping and praying that I would and now that I am in there I am really chuffed."
The Preston defender was last involved with an Ireland squad in August 2006 when he was included by then manager Stephen Staunton for a European Championship qualifying tie against Germany.
St. Ledger qualifies for Ireland through his grandfather who came from Tullow in Co. Carlow. He is one of six uncapped players in the squad of 25 players - goalkeeper Keiren Westwood (Coventry City), Eddie Nolan (Preston), Kevin Foley (Wolves), Liam Lawrence (Stoke City) and Leon Best (Coventry City) are the others.
St. Ledger is joined by his club colleague, Eddie Nolan, who captained Ireland's U21 team earlier this season and who is involved for the second time. Nolan was in the squad for the World Cup qualifying tie against Bulgaria in March, 2009.
Said St. Ledger: "It's a friendly (Ireland v Nigeria) so there's a good chance to play but now I am in the squad it's my job to keep myself in there. There's the World Cup next Summer so it is down to me now to try and keep my place in the squad."
Ireland play Nigeria at Fulham's ground on Friday, May 29. The squad of 25 players will be reduced to 22 after that game and those players will work with manager Trapattoni to be ready to challenge for the critical World Cup points on offer when Ireland play Bulgaria in Sofia on June 6.