FORMER Ireland U21 cap David Elebert believes he has hooked up with the best squad in Ireland after joining Shamrock Rovers following a decade as a full-time pro abroad.
The Swords native has played for clubs in England, Scotland and Iceland since he left home as a 16-year-old but now has his first chance to play in the League of Ireland, following in the footsteps of his uncle, Shaun, who lined out for the Hoops and Longford Town.
Capped four times at U21 level in 2008, Elebert (pictured) had the best spell of his career in Scotland with Hamilton (2006-11) when he helped the Accies win promotion to Scotland's top flight as Elebert then enjoyed three seasons in the SPL. He played regularly with team-mates like James McCarthy and James McArthur before they made the successful move to English Premier League side Wigan but he reckons that there is a lot of talent in the current Rovers squad.
"I have been training with the lads for a while now and I can see the quality that is there. We have a top class squad here at Rovers. In my view, it's the best squad in Ireland," says Elebert (26), who signed last week on a one-year deal following a spell in Icelandic football.
"The players who were here last season know that the year was a major disappointment for Rovers and all of those players are desperate to do well this season, and you also have a lot of new signings who want success. I hope it's going to be a great year for Rovers and I was happy to sign," he added. "The only medal I have won so far is the Scottish First Division and I hope that we can win things here at Rovers."
Elebert first tasted cross-channel football in a spell with Preston North End but was unable to make the first team. He made a successful move to Hamilton, winning the Division One title in Scotland in 2007/08.
"I got into the first team at 19 and it was a great time for me. I really enjoyed playing alongside people like James McCarthy and it was just brilliant to get promotion and go to places like Parkhead and Ibrox."
Last year Elebert was out of contract and was considering various options in Scandinavia when the chance to join Icelandic outfit Fylkir came along and he spent the 2012 season with them. "The standard is okay there but a lot of teams are just selling clubs, signing young players and hoping to sell them on to clubs in Sweden or Norway," he says.
Elebert had come home to Dublin and was working with fitness coach Philly McMahon, and when McMahon linked up with Rovers the introductions were made and after a trial period, boss Trevor Croly offered him a one-year deal.
"I can play across the back four and I haven't come to Rovers to sit on the bench. I want to play and do well," he says.