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Friday 20 September 2019

Mick hails O'Shea on retirement

Ireland boss’ praise for ‘role model’ defender after he calls time on career

RETIRING: Reading’s former Ireland star John O’Shea. Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
RETIRING: Reading’s former Ireland star John O’Shea. Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Former Ireland and Manchester United defender John O'Shea will retire after the final match of the Sky Bet Championship season on Sunday, his club Reading have announced.

The 38-year-old's Waterford-born star's decision was announced on his birthday, as the five-time Premier League winner prepares to bring down the curtain on a playing career spanning almost two decades.

The Royals host Birmingham on Sunday, with O'Shea likely to play some part.

Having come through the ranks at Manchester United, the versatile O'Shea - who operated in defence or central midfield - also won the FA Cup, Champions League and two League Cups to go alongside his five league winners' medals.

O'Shea announced his retirement having spent the final season of his playing career at Reading after a seven-year stint at Sunderland.

As well as making 393 appearances for Manchester United, O'Shea also collected 118 senior caps for Ireland and captained the team at Euro 2016.

"A fabulous playing career is coming to a close - today, on his 38th birthday, John O'Shea has announced he is to retire at the end of the season," tweeted Reading.

"Just a very small part of his playing days have been spent with the Royals, but he has amassed a medal collection that any player would be extremely proud of, winning almost everything possible during almost 20 years as a professional footballer."

United, meanwhile, drew on some of O'Shea's highlights from his time with the club, posting videos which included a last-minute winner at Liverpool, a memorable goal against Arsenal at Highbury and his nutmeg on Real Madrid's Luis Figo during a Champions League clash at Old Trafford in 2003.

O'Shea left United after winning his fifth and final Premier League title in 2011, opting to move to Sunderland.

Much of his time at the Stadium of Light was spent battling to keep the Black Cats in the top-flight, although they eventually succumbed to relegation in 2017.

O'Shea would play on in the Sky Bet Championship but could not help prevent Sunderland suffering back-to-back relegations and dropping into League One.

He would then depart for Reading and has made 10 appearances for the Royals with one game of the season remaining.

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has described O'Shea as a "role model professional".

Twice a European Championship finalist with Ireland, in 2012 and 2016, O'Shea was also part of the Ireland Under-16s team that won the European Championships in 1998 under Brian Kerr. "John O'Shea can take great pride in an exemplary career for club and country," said McCarthy.

"I gave him his debut for the last six minutes of that Croatia game and he deserves all the praise and plaudits that have come his way for his achievements since then.

"There are no guarantees for any player when they are starting out with their club or their country but what John has done since then for Manchester United, Sunderland, Reading and Ireland has been outstanding.

"He has gone about it the right way throughout his career. His behaviour on and off the field has been a great example to everybody. John is a role model for professional footballers.

"I know John is the ambassador for the Under 17 European Championship tournament that is about to kick-off in Ireland and I hope to meet him at the Ireland-Czech Republic game in his native Waterford on Tuesday night."

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