Interview: Sligo Rovers midfielder Kieran Sadlier

Kieran Sadlier Sligo Rovers
Kieran Sadlier

Sligo Rovers midfielder Kieran Sadlier has been described by many of the leagues observers as one of the best players in the league. theleagueofireland.com spoke to him recently and he said, “I’m very proud to be regarded as one of the best players in the league, but I want to be THE best in the league, as I’m very confident in my own ability and I want to play at a high level,” said Sadlier. 

The 22 year-old is a firm favourite with the bit o’red supporters, and has been since joining them before the start of the 2016 season.

We asked him why he came to the League of Ireland, and more specifically, why Sligo Rovers?

Sadlier said, “I was at Peterborough United at the time and not getting the chance I thought I deserved under Graham Westley. I received a call from Dave Robertson asking whether I’d be interested. I thought long and hard about it.”

“I talked to some players who had played, or were currently playing in the league of Ireland, such as Chris Forrester and Seanie Maguire, and they recommended it very highly. They told me to come over and show everyone why I should’ve been given a chance back in England.”

After speaking with those players Kieran met Dave Robertson, “I met for lunch with Dave and we talked about Sligo. He talked highly of the club being such a close-knit group and also about his ambitions. He showed me the facilities which are very good here at Sligo too. He said it’s a chance for me to prove how good I am as a footballer.”

We asked him if he felt that playing in the League of Ireland was a step down from what he was used to and he said, “I wouldn’t say it’s a step down, because I actually think there’s great players in this league who can easily play over in England, but maybe mentally some are comfortable staying in Ireland. The likes of Dundalk and Cork 100% could play in the football league and do well. But it was a real chance for me to get a lot games under my belt and enjoy my football again.”

Kieran Sadlier Sligo Rovers v Galway United
Sadlier against Galway

He’s delighted that he took the chance to come and play in the league of Ireland, and spoke about what expectations he had before arriving, “I think it’s how I expected it to be to be fair. I knew there would be quality players and good teams coming here as i’d spoken with many people about the league. I’d say now knowing the league even more, I would definitely recommend it for young players wanting a chance to show what they can do, because you can really make something of yourself here if you work hard.”

When asked about his start to his Sligo career Sadlier said, “I started off well in my performances last season but just couldn’t score, as much as a tried it just wasn’t happening. Then after the break the goals started to come, and so did our performances as a team, and we picked up points to finish in a good position in 5th just missing out on Europe.”

He also spoke about what position suits him best, “I play a lot in the number 10 or either wide left or wide right. My favourite position is wide left but I like to drift anywhere and get on the ball as much as possible. I played number 10 all last season in a diamond which I don’t think suited the team we had.”

Check out a recent goal against Cork City;

On the back of his performances for Sligo he’s been linked with a move to many clubs. Only this week he was linked to league leaders Cork City, on the back of Seanie Maguire’s departure for Preston North End. “Yeah I have read there’s been a lot of interest in me from other clubs here, but I’m a Sligo Rovers player and I have a contract here until the end of season, so unless I’m told otherwise I’ll continue to enjoy my football and putting in performances for Sligo Rovers.”

Former Sligo boss Dave Robertson told theleagueofireland.com that Sadlier has the potential be real star in the game. He said, “It’s great to see Kieran Sadlier continuing his excellent form from last season. In particular, with adding goals to his game after reaching 11 in last seasons campaign. He’s on 8 already this year as the league comes to its half way point.”

“When he came to Sligo with me 18 months ago I believed in him, and he has fulfilled that potential from day one. He is more than capable of moving back to England now at a higher level, and can progress his career as far as he wants to take it.”

“He offers the team goals, assists and a remarkable work ethic which managers are looking for.”

Sadlier said of his work ethic, “My work ethic on the pitch is something I’ve worked on for a couple years now. I’ve always been very fit and been able to get up and down the pitch. Sometimes though when I do so much attacking it’s about working smart and conserving your energy so you can attack at pace more. My work ethic off the pitch has always been good, I look after myself and my body so I can perform to my best ability.”

Another superb goal against Derry City;

Robertson continued, “I have no doubt that his career will be successful at Sligo whilst he is still contracted there, until the end of the 2017 season and beyond, wherever that may take him.”

“As a player that can operate effectively as a winger or a central attacking midfielder with both goals and assists for the team he will be a huge asset.”

Sadlier was sad to see Dave Robertson dismissed by the club as he was close to him, “Yeah Dave being sacked was sad to see as I’ve worked with him for a while now and he’s been very good to me. But in football things happen that you can’t control.”

He continued, “Since Gerard (Lyttle) arrived he’s been been brilliant. Training has been a very high tempo, and we work very hard in the sessions too. We are in pretty much every day with maybe a day off at weekends, or the odd day off in the week to recover, but it’s good that way. You have to be dedicated and make sure things are done properly. I think the gaffer’s going to be very good for Sligo Rovers, and he’ll get us playing good exciting attacking football and working hard for each other,” something which will be music to the ears of all Sligo supporters.

Lyttle also said of Sadlier recently, “He’s been the stand-out performer in the league this season, and not only his talent, we now have him working on the other side of the game which is equally important for him and the team. He is a special player who will be linked with many teams, but thankfully he’s under contract with us until the end of the season.”

Check out his goal in a 1-1 with Galway United;

While adding goals to his game this season, the young winger is hoping to add even more goals as his confidence grows, “Having now scored 18 goals altogether for the club in all competitions, it’s great for me playing in midfield, but I know I’m perfectly capable of getting even more goals. This season I’ve got 8 goals and 5/6 assists, which is good because I worked hard in the off season to come back and start strong. I’d say I’m now more selfish in front of goal but in a good way as I’m confident enough to take the responsibility.”

“Personally since coming over and joining Sligo I’ve learned more about being in a first team environment and growing into a professional footballer who plays regularly every week. It’s something I know I can build on and I want to play at the highest level I can possibly play to test myself.”

Sadlier knows that if and when the time comes, a potential move either across the water or in Europe could present itself, “If the opportunity to play back in England or Europe came, and it was the right club for me and my progression, then I’d have to consider it as any player would. So yes, my ambition eventually would be to be in England or Europe playing for a big club. However these things take time and I’m working hard here, and still learning and looking to improve in areas of my game.”

He knows it’s going to be a tough year with the league reverting to a 10-team League for next season, “Yeah obviously with 3 teams going down this season it’s going to be that bit more difficult, but we are perfectly capable of getting away from the bottom and heading up the table. We have some very good players in the team, a great mix of youth and experience. On our day we can match any team in this league as you have seen with past results both last season and this.”

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