Republic of Ireland international John O’Shea looks set to hang up his boots at the end of the current campaign, according to reports on Wednesday.
The Times have reported that the Sunderland defender will retire from football at the end of the season, bringing an end to a near-two decade-long playing career.
Unfortunately for O’Shea, his retirement looks likely to coincide with the Black Cats’ relegation to League One at the end of the season, a second successive relegation for a side that were playing Premier League football just ten months ago.
Internationally, though the 36-year-old (37 in April) has not officially announced his retirement from the Ireland squad, his omission from Martin O’Neill’s squad to face Turkey last week, and with a wait of six months before the next competitive clash, suggested that the Waterford native was unlikely to play for the Boys in Green again.
O’Shea made his senior debut for Man United in a League Cup clash against Aston Villa in 1999. He made almost 250 appearances in all competitions for the Old Trafford across a wildly-successful twelve-season spell, winning five Premier League medals and a Champions League in 2008.
He moved to Sunderland in 2011, but the club have gone through a high volume of managers in his time in the north-east. They were relegated from the Premier League last season and have spent much of this year battling the drop into the third tier – a battle they look unlikely to win right now.
In terms of his Ireland career, O’Shea made his senior debut as a late substitute in a friendly against Croatia in 2011. He went on to win 116 caps for the Boys in Green, marking his 100th appearance with a late equaliser in a huge 1-1 draw away to reigning world champions Germany, and represented his country at the European Championships and 2012 and 2016.
The report suggests that O’Shea is unlikely to make the news official until Sunderland’s final game of the Championship season on May 6th.