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O’Brien joins the Whitecaps

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Andy O’Brien has ended his troubled spell with Leeds United by joining Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps.

The centre-back is leaving England after 16 years in the Premier League and Football League to take up a contract in Canada.

O’Brien, 33, was placed on the transfer list by Leeds at the end of last season after a turbulent campaign in which he was treated for depression at the Sporting Chance clinic founded by former Arsenal captain Tony Adams.

His admission to the clinic came in the wake of a fall-out with former United manager Simon Grayson who warned O’Brien that he “won’t play for this club again as long as I’m here” following the centre-back’s refusal to appear in a Championship game at Burnley on November 17.

O’Brien eventually resumed training with Leeds’ senior squad on January 31, the day before Grayson was sacked, but did not feature under Grayson’s long-term replacement, Neil Warnock.

He was left out of United’s recent tour of Devon and Cornwall with a transfer in the offing and his contract – one of the more lucrative at Elland Road – was terminated by mutual consent yesterday, 12 months before it was due to expire.

A statement from Leeds said: “Andy O’Brien has left employment with Leeds United by mutual consent in order to pursue opportunities overseas. The club would like to wish Andy well.”

Leeds signed O’Brien on loan from Bolton Wanderers in October 2010 and made the transfer permanent during the following January transfer window. O’Brien made 38 appearances in all, his last as a substitute in a 2-1 defeat to Coventry City in February.

Billy Paynter is close to following O’Brien out of Elland Road after joining Blackpool on trial. Doncaster Rovers and Notts County are also vying to sign the striker.

 

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