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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 25, 2006

Harte keen to end his pain in Spain

Republic of Ireland defender Ian Harte is desperate to end his unhappy Spanish adventure and return to England this summer for the sake of his family.

Harte has been told he can quit Levante - currently pushing for promotion to the Primera Liga - at the end of their season in four weeks' time, potentially on a free transfer, and despite another two years left on his contract.

The left-back is hoping an English club, be it in the Premiership or Championship, will then give him the chance he craves as he admits he is bitterly unhappy in Spain

Harte, who joined Levante in 2004 after nine years at Leeds, is more concerned about the welfare of his wife and two daughters, especially after becoming a father for the second time earlier this year.

'I've spoken to the president and he has told me I can go at the end of the season,' Harte told PA Sport.

'I've still another four weeks of football in Spain to get through first. At the moment we're in third place and hopefully we can get promoted.

'But even if we do go up, I've set my mind on coming back. I really want to move.

'I've been saying this since January, but now I've just had another little girl, which makes it 10 times harder.

'Because we've no family over there, just my wife and the two girls, it's difficult.

'Now I'm just looking towards the finishing line. Obviously, I know I've a job to do and I have to be professional in the games, which I have been doing. I want the team to get back into the Primera Liga.

'But then once the season is over, hopefully the president will keep his word - and he is quite an honest man - and I can move back to England

'Once there I can start enjoying my football again. It has been tough in Spain, but I've given it a go and it's been a good experience.

'But now is the time to come home. I'm just not happy.'

The 28-year-old is unaware of any interest at present, and added: 'It would be nice to know that when the season ends there was something concrete.

'I'd settle for a Championship club, although I still feel I can do a job in the Premiership.

'I've lost quite a lot of weight recently, and I'm feeling as good now as I have done for many years.'

At least Harte has the opportunity of ending the season on a high with Levante, unlike many of his Ireland colleagues who headed into the summer on the back of last night's 1-0 friendly defeat to Chile.

For manager Steve Staunton it was, he conceded, 'a reality check' in the wake of the euphoria engendered by the 3-0 win over Sweden in his opening game in charge in March.

Staunton tinkered with the formation, and in the absence of a number of injured players, toyed with the line-up too, only for Ireland to lose out to Manuel Ittura's 48th-minute winner.

'After beating Sweden everybody was on a high, so now we have to focus on the next game and bounce back,' added Harte.

'We've a difficult game at home to Holland in August. They will be stronger opposition than Chile.

'We will have to be 100% for that game, but hopefully we can beat them and then prepare for our opening game of the European Championships against Germany in September.

'We will learn from our mistakes. It's a learning stage for some of the younger lads that came in, but we should be okay when it comes to the Europeans.'

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