Former Celtic and Leeds defender Darren O'Dea considering next move, open to MLS return

The Irish centre-back would be interested in a move back to Toronto FC if the chance presented itself.

Former Celtic and Leeds United defender Darren O’Dea has told the Toronto Sun that he would be interested in a return to Toronto FC if the club enquired about his services.

O’Dea, 28, first joined Toronto on a free transfer in August 2012 after leaving Celtic, before going on to make 26 total appearances for the MLS side over the next 11 months.

The Republic of Ireland international was even appointed club captain following Torsten Frings’ retirement ahead of the 2013 campaign but then opted to leave in the summer for a lucrative deal with Ukrainian outfit Metalurh Donetsk.

His tumultuous time dealing with war-torn conditions has since been well-documented and, after cutting his spell in Eastern Europe short in August 2014, the 20-times capped centre-back then landed in another testing situation with crisis-ridden Blackpool.

Featuring 20 times from December until the end of the season, O’Dea has since been released following the club’s relegation to League One and is now assessing his options for the summer transfer window.

Having kept in contact with Toronto’s front office, a move back to Canada is not out of the question, especially if fellow defender Steven Caldwell fails in his bid to return from an Achilles injury which has limited him to just two appearances this term.

“If TFC wants to speak to me, it’s not hard,” said O’Dea. “Would it be ideal for me to [come to TFC] short-term? Probably not, but if someone like Toronto came it would be hard to not at least think about it.

“The year I spent in Toronto was the favourite year of my career and I wasn’t even winning games. That tells you how much I enjoyed the place, the club, the people.

“You could ask me at any stage, ‘Would you like to play for Toronto again?’ The answer would be yes,” he continued. “I’d love to play for Celtic again, too. You could ask me at any time. I could be at another club getting on great and I’d still say, ‘I’d love to play for Toronto.’”

O’Dea also had some harsh words for Blackpool’s ownership following the season which saw them finish bottom of the Championship with just 26 points and four wins from their 46 games.

“I knew what I was going into,” he added. “It was going to be shambles. You could go to a pub team and it would be run better than Blackpool.

“The people around the club, the manager, were fantastic. I felt bad for the supporters.”

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