Darren O’Dea rejected the chance to join the Republic of Ireland squad this week because he wants to focus on Toronto FC’s pre-season.
The 26-year old former Celtic and Leeds United defender missed Ireland’s 2-0 friendly win over Poland in Dublin on Wednesday night because he is determined to help get things right at the BMO Field prior to the 2013 season following a disastrous 2012.
“You need a settled back four that play week in and week out and know each other,” O’Dea told MLSsoccer.com before the team set off to continue their offseason training in Orlando.
“Over preseason hopefully we’ll get to know each other and come the start of the season, we’ll be a solid team.”
And O’Dea was keen to buy into the philosophy of new president Kevin Payne to help build a new culture at Toronto.
“I’m starting to understand and the president [Kevin Payne] has touched on it, the culture and the mentality” O’Dea added.
“I’ve spoken about mentality before. People think it’s just a word but it’s a very important thing. You can have all the ability in the world, but last season you saw when you concede goals that late on it’s not coincidence. It’s people aren’t strong enough. Mentally they’re not strong enough.”