Belfast Telegraph

O’Dea eyes regular starting spot

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

No one was more delighted than Kevin Moran when Darren O'Dea finally secured a move away from Celtic Park last weekend.

He might be better known as a former Dublin GAA, Manchester United and Ireland legend, but Moran is also O'Dea's agent and he had been receiving daily phone calls from the Dubliner who yesterday admitted he was “scared” by another season on the bench for Celtic until he secured a season long loan to Leeds United.

Why? Well, O'Dea finished last season in flying form for his country after starring against Italy in Liege and the defender reckons he has earned the trust of Giovanni Trapattoni to be started in big games.

But he knows to keep that trust, he needs to play regular football and although his Leeds debut was Sunday's 3-0 defeat to Southampton, he reckons he is in the right place to further his international ambitions. And those ambitions are big ones.

“My agent is happier with the move than I am. I've literally been ringing him non-stop, I was desperate to get out,” he said.

“I was genuinely scared of missing out. The country is in good place right now, as in we have come off the back of four wins and everybody is very confident that we'll qualify.

“It will be very tough. We're confident, though, and I'm desperate to be part of it.

“I was very worried about that at the start of the season. I was desperate to get out, I could see the Ireland squad doing fantastically well, we're top of the group and next month will decide whether we will qualify.

“I watched the World Cup draw being made and you want to be part of that. If we do manage to qualify, as everyone hopes we do, then you want to be part of that as well.

“Sitting around at Celtic would have hampered me a lot in that, so that's why it's great to get out and playing first-team football and games like Wednesday will only help me.”

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