Mick McCarthy leads tributes to 'role model' John O'Shea as he announces retirement

Wed, May 01 2019

O'Shea embraces then-Ireland manager Martin O'Neill following his final appearance for his country in June. Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy led the tributes to John O’Shea after the 118-times-capped international announced his retirement from international football.

The Waterford native will hang up his boots following Reading’s final league game Birmingham City on Sunday to bring to an end a trophy-laden senior career than spanned 20 years.

38-year-old O’Shea won the Champions League, the FA Cup and five Premier League titles in 12 years with Manchester United before taking in spells with Sunderland and Reading.

O’Shea was made captain of Sunderland upon signing for the Black Cats and also stood in as captain for his country in the absence of Robbie Keane during Euro 2016.

McCarthy gave O’Shea his Ireland debut as a 20-year-old in 2001 in a 2-2 friendly draw with Croatia and he would go on to represent Ireland at two European Championships.

He didn’t get to manage O’Shea during his second spell after O’Shea brought his international career to an end last summer, but McCarthy described him as ‘a role model for professional footballers.’


“John O’Shea can take great pride in an exemplary career for club and country,” McCarthy told the FAI’s website.

“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 Monday night.”

O’Shea, who played underage football for Ferrybank and Waterford Bohemians, amassed more than 400 Premier League appearances for Man United and Sunderland.

He spent time on loan with Bournemouth and Royal Antwerp early in his Manchester United career before becoming a regular fixture in Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering side.