St Ledger tasked with stopping Ireland teammate McCarthy

© Keith Gillard
© Keith Gillard

SEAN St Ledger is hoping his experience of playing alongside Wigan playmaker James McCarthy will prepare him for the task of containing the Republic of Ireland star.

St Ledger will line up against his international teammate in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley – and it will be his job to prevent the 22-year-old from pulling the strings in midfield.

McCarthy has recently been linked with moves to the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool and keeping him quiet will be key if the Lions are to progress to the final.

"I know James pretty well from playing with Ireland," St Ledger said. "I can't speak highly enough of him really. He's got a fantastic career ahead of him.

"I think he'll be the mainstay of the Ireland midfield for many years to come so he's one to look out for. He makes some marauding runs forward and it will be my job to stop him.

"If I do play, my job is to keep it tight in midfield. There will probably be more pressure on me as a defensive player to stop the space and limit opportunities for their midfielders.

"It's going to be tough – they are a very, very good team – but I'm looking forward to the challenge."

St Ledger has made only three appearances for Millwall since joining on loan from Leicester City but is poised to start in one of the biggest games in the club's history.

"It's a strange situation," he admitted. "I've come from being injured at Leicester to playing in an FA Cup semi-final. Games don't get bigger than that.

"The boys have done great to get here and I've strolled in at the last minute. If I do play, I'll probably feel a little bit guilty but I see myself as a Millwall player.

"I will give my all for the period that I'm at the club. The fans here love a good tackle and that's what we have to do on Saturday – we have to get in Wigan's faces.

"We have to make the most of what we have and the fans can be our 12th man. Every fan would like to be out there wearing the shirt so it's a great honour.

"Not many of us will have the opportunity to play at Wembley in front of such a big crowd. You have to enjoy these occasions while they last.

"There's been a lot of talk over the years that the FA Cup has lost its razzmatazz but it's always been a big thing in my generation as a player.

"Wigan was a good draw. It would have been difficult against Manchester City or Chelsea. Wigan are a very good side but it's probably the easier tie for us."

St Ledger's loan at The Den is due to expire a week before the final on May 11 – meaning, if the Lions are successful agains the Latics, the 28-year-old may not be able to play.

"Hopefully Leicester will let me extend my loan if we to the final," he said. "But that would be around the same time as the Championship play-offs and they have to cover themselves."



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