Sean St Ledger admits that he would be 'gutted' to see veterans retire from Ireland duty

Leicester City defender believes that the old-guard of the Boys in Green still have a lot to offer to the national team and would like them to stick around
In the aftermath of Ireland's Euro 2012 exit, several of the elder players in the squad hinted that they would consider retirement.

36-year-old Shay Given, 33-year-old Damien Duff and 32-year-old Richard Dunne have each suggested that it may be time for them to move on but defender Sean St Ledger is of the belief that these players can still contribute to the Irish national team.

“Obviously they’re thinking about things," St Ledger told the Irish Examiner. "But they are still at an age when they’re still playing in the Premier League and they are at great football clubs.”

He added: “They’ve all got a lot to offer. Personally, I’d be gutted to see them retire but that’s their own personal choice.”

Reflecting on the tournament as a whole, the 27-year-old centre back agreed that the squad let the Irish fans down by not meeting expectations, but offered his view that the team simply could not match the opposition.

“I don’t think embarrassed is the word," he began. "We felt we let people down a bit. They’ve been brilliant."

He continued: "I hope people understand that they are three very good sides and we had gone into each game believing we could get a result.

"We’ve gone into the games trying our hardest so it’s not through a lack of effort. It’s through other teams being better and our own mistakes."

The former Preston North End defender went on to suggest that despite Ireland's own limitations, they did not receive any luck and criticised the referees.

“You need to be at your best here," he said. "You need luck. In all three games we haven’t had much luck and the referees have been poor.

"To be honest, I never expected Spain to play to that level but then I don’t think anybody did,” admitted the defender.

“But sometimes you’ve got to hold your hand up and say that we’ve lost three games to three very, very good sides, all ranked within the top 10 in the [world] rankings," concluded St Ledger.