With almost 600 appearances to his name, John O’Shea is something of a Premier League stalwart.
The 35-year-old defender made his league debut with Manchester United in the 2001/02 season, O’Shea would go on to have a fine career as Alex Ferguson’s utility man before leaving for Sunderland in 2011 with medals from five domestic title wins, an FA Cup, three League Cups and a Champions League.
While O’Shea is one of the most decorated Irish players to have graced the English game, the Waterford native has revealed to the official Premier League website that the two players he most looks up to from modern era are two other Ireland and Man United legends, namely Roy Keane and Denis Irwin.
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 22, 2017
“Denis Irwin and Roy Keane definitely would have been two that I had up there as idols.
“Obviously they helped me when I came through at United. You had to earn that kind of respect and trust too, but watching them play and train, how they applied themselves.
“Other players have had great attitudes too but for me looking at those two was very important.”
Irwin, also a defender, was coming to the end of his Old Trafford career just as O’Shea was breaking through, and the Waterford native spent several seasons at the club under the captaincy of Keane until the midfielder’s departure in late 2005 (incidentally, O’Shea was allegedly one of the players lambasted by Keane in the infamous MUTV rant that led to his dismissal).
The pair have since been working together since 2013 in the roles of player and assistant manager respectively of the Ireland national team.