Ireland International Darren O'Dea has today pleaded to still be at the club next season on the club's official website and it is not the first time that the defender has hinted that he wants a long term future at Elland Road. However, do the fans want to see the man, on loan from Celtic, on a permanent basis and is this what the club needs?
O'Dea came through the ranks at Scottish club Celtic and despite making 70 appearances for the recently crowned SPL champions has spent the last few seasons on loan at Reading, Ipswich and now Leeds. After making his debut for Celtic in December 2006, O'Dea went on to captain the side and make huge contributions in big Champions League clashes against the likes of AC Milan. The Dublin born defender, who can play at left back as well as at the heart of the defence, has won the title with Celtic and scored the opening goal of a 2-0 CIS Insurance Cup final win over rivals Rangers. The 25 year old has amassed 13 caps for the Republic of Ireland so far in his career but have we seen the player that someone with these achievements should be capable of?
Roy Keane snapped O'Dea up on a five month loan for Ipswich Town at the start of the 2010/11 season and Paul Jewell saw enough in him to extend that until the end of the season. Despite dividing opinion among Tractor Boys fans, O'Dea did put in a terrific performance against Arsenal when Ipswich beat them in the first leg of their League Cup tie. I think O'Dea's loan spell at United has been very similar to his time at Ipswich, with some terrific performances being overshadowed by some poor showings.
Darren O'Dea has featured on a regular basis during what has been an extremely disappointing season for the Elland Road club who sit 14th with only four games left to play. At times some of his defending has led United followers to give him the nickname of 'Darren O'Dear' and it just hasn't been good enough. I think O'Dea's main flaws are his poor distribution, more often that not he is likely to punt the ball into no mans land and then possession is gone. He is also prone to lapses in concentration which often cost his side dear. He was branded by one Ipswich fan on a fans forum as 'the worst defender we have ever had', that was probably a bit harsh but you get the picture.
The defender has scored a couple of cracking goals for the Whites this season and although that isn't what you need from your defenders, he is more often than not a threat from set pieces and is always capable of giving the strikers a helping hand by putting it in the back of the net. The effort is certainly there from O'Dea, who wears his heart on his sleeve and is normally the first to any confrontation that comes up during a match, his aggressive nature has earned him 10 yellow cards so far this campaign. I think at times O'Dea can be a very good player but his lack of concentration is stopping him from really making it in the game. It is a shame because I feel there is something about O'Dea that is very likeable, I just don't think he is good enough to be part of a promotion winning side, which is what Neil Warnock is aiming to build for next season. That said, Warnock seems to see something in O'Dea and could be set to offer the Irishman a chance to make his switch to Leeds permanent.
Having spent the last two seasons on loan, I think O'Dea's time at Celtic is over, he's at the age now where he really needs to settle down but do we want that to be at Leeds? Have your say in the poll below!