Ball-playing defender Eoghan O’Connell joins Addicks

THE ADDICKS have confirmed the permanent signing of ball-playing centre-back Eoghan O’Connell.

The 26-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the Addicks following the expiry of his contract at Rochdale, where he was both the fans’ and players’ Player of the Season for the 2021/22 campaign.

O’Connell becomes Charlton’s first signing of the summer and the first player to join the club since the appointment of Ben Garner as men’s first-team manager earlier this month.

The former Republic of Ireland youth international explained the club’s intent to play football on the front foot contributed to his decision to join the Addicks.

Eoghan O’Connell has signed a three-year deal.

He said: “I had a good conversation with the Manager about the way he wants to play and it really suits me. I like to try and play out from the back and get the team attacking, as well as defending.

“The draw of the size of the ground is obviously a huge thing, as is the size of the club. You just have to take a look around – it’s amazing.” 

O’Connell completed 2,204 passes last season, the second most in League Two. Garner explained how he saw O’Connell fitting in: “Eoghan’s a player that I’ve admired for a long time and it was nice that when I came in he also featured high on the club’s recruitment list.

“In possession he’s fantastic, he’s very intelligent, comfortable receiving the ball, very brave, which is a big quality, and he has a fantastic range of pass. In addition to that, he’s also a great defender.”

Owner and CEO Thomas Sandgaard explained O’Connell perfectly fitted the Addicks intended attacking playing style: “We are looking to recruit players that fit the club’s playing style and can grow with us. Eoghan is a very good defender, who is also very comfortable on the ball, so I’m pleased to welcome him to The Valley.”

O’Connell started his professional playing career at Celtic, where he played 13 first[-]team matches, including games in the Scottish Premiership and Champions League. His time at Celtic included loan spells at Oldham Athletic, Cork City and Walsall before he joined Bury for the 2017/18 season. He then moved to Rochdale in 2019 and was appointed club captain in 2020.

Last season, he played in 50 first-team games, including 45 league games. As well as picking up multiple club Player of the Season accolades, he was awarded the club’s goal of the season for a stunning individual effort against Hartlepool United.

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