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INTERVIEW | Joe Ledley: "I had a few offers in League Two but they weren’t for me because Newport was the one"

18 March 2021

Joe Ledley revealed he turned down offers from elsewhere to repay Newport County AFC and help the Exiles get over the line in their bid for promotion to Sky Bet League One.

The Wales international joined County until the end of the season on Thursday after penning a short-term contract at Rodney Parade.

Ledley spent time training with the Exiles in January 2020 and came close to signing a deal with Michael Flynn's side before moving Down Under to play under his former Wales team-mate Carl Robinson at Newcastle Jets.

He returned to south Wales last year following his stint in the A-League and received offers from several Football League clubs.

But the midfielder says he turned them down and wanted to return to the Exiles to help them secure promotion.

"I had a few offers in League Two but they weren’t for me because Newport was the one," revealed Ledley.

"I wanted to repay them for what they did for me when I first came here by letting me use their facilities and letting me train. That goes a long way in football.

"I spoke to Gavin (Foxall) and Flyny and they asked me to come, so why not? All I would be doing is excessing by myself and watching the results on a Saturday, so it’s a no-brainer and hopefully I can help this club go forward.

"They’ve got a great set of fans too, so it was all about coming here and helping the boys get over the line."

Ledley, who has previously enjoyed stints at Cardiff City, Celtic, Crystal Palace, Derby County and Charlton Athletic, brings a wealth of experience to Rodney Parade having made more than 500 career appearances.

The midfielder lifted three Scottish Premiership titles and the Scottish Cup during his stint in Glasgow, and also featured in an FA Cup final and Championship play-off final with Cardiff.

He has also made 77 appearances for Wales and was a central figure in Wales' run to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

And the 34-year-old says he wants to pass on his experiences to aid County's promotion push when he joins up with Flynn's side on Friday.

"Experience goes a long way in football," added the midfielder.

"I had Robbie Fowler, Trevor Sinclair and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in one season and you learn from players like that because they’ve been there and done it.

"With the youngsters coming through, I think they need that guidance and an experienced player to help them through, so hopefully I can achieve that. 

"I don’t expect to come in straight away and start because they’ve been fantastic. If the manager wants me to come on and see a game out or start, I’ll do whatever he needs to the best of my ability. I’m not sure whether it will be the last club I’m at, but I’m going to work as hard as possible to help the youngsters coming through."

Ledley is now ready to hit the ground running in County's bid for promotion to Sky Bet League One, with just 11 games remaining of the campaign.

The Exiles currently sit fifth in the table ahead of Saturday's clash against Leyton Orient - a fixture which could see Ledley make his Exiles bow at one of his former stomping grounds.

"It’s been great what the team have done so far and they’re close to the top, so hopefully we can carry that on now.

"I’ve got a lot of experience and been towards the top of tables a few times, and I’ve got a winning mentality because that’s what football is all about. We need to win as many games as we can now because they go so quickly and you need to beat the teams around you.

"It’s only a short contract but hopefully we can get over the finish line."


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