St Ledger keen to return in Germany

07 October 2013 09:31

Sean St Ledger is targeting a first start since the opening week of the season in the Republic of Ireland's daunting World Cup qualifier in Germany.

The 28-year-old Leicester defender has not kicked a ball for his club since the Capital One Cup win at Wycombe on August 6, his second and final appearance for the campaign to date, because of a knee injury and manager Nigel Pearson's reluctance to rush him back.

However, he is vying for a chance to line up against the likes of Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Tony Kroos in Cologne on Friday night as Ireland attempt to gain revenge for their 6-1 mauling by the Germans in Dublin last October as Group C approaches its climax.

St Ledger, who has 36 senior caps to his name, could get his opportunity because senior men Richard Dunne and John O'Shea are both suspended, and he insists he is ready if called upon by interim boss Noel King.

He said: "I'm as ready as I'll ever be. It's probably not an ideal situation with not having played, but sometimes things can't always be perfect.

"I'm generally quite fit, so hopefully that will stand me in good stead. I have been back training for a few weeks now.

"Obviously I have not played and I am probably fortunate that I am in the squad with the suspensions, so it's down to me this week to work hard, get my head down and try to force my way into the starting XI."

Dunne and O'Shea will be available for the Republic's final qualifier against Kazakhstan at the Aviva Stadium next Tuesday evening, but in their absence, St Ledger and Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark are the leading candidates to take over in central defence in Germany, although Damien Delaney and Stephen Kelly have both played there in the past.

But having made his competitive senior debut in a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Bulgaria under Giovanni Trapattoni in June 2009, that would not faze the former Peterborough and Preston man.

St Ledger said: "These are the games you want to play in as footballers, against the best players and against the best teams and test yourself.

Source: PA