Former Celtic and Leeds United defender scores first goal for Ukrainian outfit

Leeds United

Darren O'Dea has scored his first goal for Metalurh Donetsk.

Occasionally a transfer that quite simply should not, tickles my interest, and has me wondering how on earth that happened.

Recently one such deal came up.

When I saw that Republic of Ireland international Darren O’Dea had signed for Ukrainian outfit Metalurh Donetsk, I was taken aback. It just seemed an odd location for a 26-year-old from Dublin to find himself.

O’Dea was of course a promising prospect at Celtic, but he never truly made the grade - always struggling to make the first-team at the Glasgow club.

In fact, perhaps the most memorable spell of his career would have been one of his loan deals. Time at Reading and Ipswich had its ups and downs, but he featured more in one season for Leeds United then he had any other with The Bhoys.

But his time at Elland Road was mixed. Occasionally looking talented and assured, and then making the odd costly mistake. At the end of the 2011-12 season, Neil Warnock decided not to sign him permanently.

He went on to sign for Toronto FC, on a free transfer, last summer and had a good year with the club. He was even given the captains armband - in the wake of Torsten Frings’ retirement.

He left the Canadian club this summer and signed a three-year deal with Ukrainian Premier League outfit Metalurh.

And he has wasted no time making an impact. With his newly shaved head, he played 90 minutes for the first time - in what was his second game for the club against Vorskla Poltava.

And he even managed to score a goal for the team - bundling home after 49 minutes of a 2-1 away victory.

His obvious hope of a move back to Europe was to make it back on to the radar of the Republic of Ireland national team - and more performances like this will do him no harm.

What are your memories of Darren O’Dea?

image: © Chris Robertshaw

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