Monday 11 December 2017

Ex-Magpie Desmond is content with life by the Camac

St Patrick's AthLETIC

THE BOAT back to England and a second chance on the professional scene abroad can wait for Ireland U21 cap Lee Desmond as he's put foreign ambitions on hold to make a name for himself in the SSE Airtricity League.

This week has been a good one for the Dubliner as he was named in Noel King's Ireland U21 squad for a Euro qualifier (the only home-based player) and he hopes to reach another landmark tonight by making his full debut for St Patrick's Athletic.

Desmond, signed from Shelbourne in the off-season, slots in well at international level and has already had a spell in the UK, with Newcastle United, but while some players dream of nothing else but a return to Britain, he's happy to be a home boy.

"My goal now isn't to just go back to England, I want to enjoy it here and kick on in the League of Ireland," says the defender, who made his league debut as a sub in last week's loss to Shamrock Rovers.

"I just want to be a success with Pats and I can't do that until I nail down a place in the team here. I am hungry to do well in Ireland. It's not easy to get into the Pats team, there are experienced defenders ahead of me who have been in the league for years

"It was a good week for me on a personal level when I got the call-up to the U21 squad but I have put that to one side now and I'm just focused on trying to get into the Pats team and getting the three points against Bray tonight. Getting into the Pats team is my main aim for now and anything that happens with the international team will be a bonus," added Desmond, who spent two years at Newcastle but injury ruined his first year and he was unable to catch up.

"It didn't work out for me in the end over there but I was only down about it for a few days when I left, I just got my head around the idea of doing well in Ireland," he says.

This season is a step-up for Desmond, who since his exit from Newcastle United has worked his way up the ladder, initially in the U19 league and then the First Division with Shelbourne. "No disrespect to Shels but the standards here are higher as it's full time, the training is very competitive," he says. "I learned a lot at Shels and I loved it there and hopefully I can progress even more this season. Coming home and going to Shels was the best decision I made, especially as I started off in the Shels U19s, I knew it was a big drop down from where I had been in England but it was the best thing for me.

"We had a disappointing result against Rovers last week but we're still in good spirits about the new season and we're looking forward to putting things right against Bray tonight."

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