Having played Premier League football with Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United, capped 5 times for Ireland; Joey O'Brien will now return to competitive football 18-months after leaving the Hammers.
O'Brien is set to become a high-profile signing for League of Ireland side, Shamrock Rovers.
— Shamrock Rovers F.C. 🇮🇪 (@ShamrockRovers) January 27, 2018
Still only 31-years-old, O'Brien's professional career has coincided with numerous issues with injury. Yet, having proven his fitness to Stephen Bradley, O'Brien will now join last year's third-placed Rovers.
Having initially made his mark in 2004/05 in League One while on loan with Sheffield Wednesday, a Premier League breakthrough with Sam Allardyce's Bolton the following season coincided with O'Brien's first international appearance.
In what was Steve Staunton's first game in charge of the Irish side, O'Brien's international career halted somewhat when Giovanni Trapattoni was hired after Staunton's disastrous era. He would make a brief return to the squad when Martin O'Neill was appointed in 2013.
With the League of Ireland becoming dominated in recent years by both Dundalk and last year's double-winning Cork City, O'Brien's arrival would undoubtedly give Shamrock Rovers some hope that they can bridge the gap.
The best of the rest last season, their third-placed finish did not do justice to the fifteen-point margin that separated them from second-placed Dundalk; let alone the twenty-two points between Rovers and the champions, Cork.
Having not won the League of Ireland since Michael O'Neill led Rovers to the title in 2011, there will be a massive hunger in Tallaght to see some real progress this season.
Should he be able to prove his fitness and join the club, O'Brien's experience - both international and Premier League - will undoubtedly signify a huge stride forward for the club.
Speaking to the club's website, O'Brien sounded excited at the prospect of his return to a club he supports:
I’m buzzing to be here and get going. It happened over a short period of time, I made contact with the club and luckily it got over the line.
I was moving back home with my family so it was a logical thing, I support Shamrock Rovers. I’m a Rovers fan and I wanted to get playing and come back here. This is the place to be. Last season I was at Rovers games and I’ve watched them a few times.
I’ll speak to the manager and get to know the players. It’s about becoming part of the squad, I definitely bring the age up! I like to think I’ve been around a while and have good experience of playing at certain levels. Hopefully the way I go about training and off the pitch as well, some of the younger lads can learn from working with me."
Of course, if it doesn't work out, he could always try his hand at GAA again.