It’s official. John O’Shea is a Royal!
The former Manchester United and Sunderland defender has opted to switch to Madejski Stadium on a one-year contract as Paul Clement’s third signing of the summer transfer window.
And to celebrate the signing, we’ve profiled O’Shea’s career to-date. From breaking through into United’s first-team to UEFA Champions League glory in 2008 – we’ve got it all in this detailed fact file.
Name: John O’Shea
Former Clubs: Manchester United, Bournemouth, Royal Antwerp, Sunderland
Honours: Premier League x5, FA Cup, League Cup x2, Community Shield x4, Champions League, Club World Cup
The Early Years
O’Shea was born in Waterford, Ireland and began his early footballing career at Ferrybank AFC before moving to his local-side, Waterford Bohemians.
After learning his trade and impressing very quickly, O’Shea earned himself a switch to England with Manchester United.
At the tender of age of just 17, it was a massive step, but one that proved to be highly successful for the ambitious defender.
Progressing Through The Ranks
Signing professional terms for the Red Devils in 1999, O’Shea made his senior debut for United in October that year in the League Cup against Aston Villa - featuring for the entirety of a 3-0 victory at Villa Park.
Competition for places, though, meant that O’Shea had to wait almost a year for his next shot at the first team and for that reason, the versatile defender was loaned out to second division-side Bournemouth in January 2000.
During his time with the Cherries, O’Shea featured a total of 11 times and he scored his first professional goal in a 3-1 defeat against Millwall.
Waiting For The Chance
In the 2000/01 season, another campaign of limited first team opportunities followed for O’Shea.
The Irish defender made a total of two appearances for the United first-team, both of which came in the league cup against Watford and Sunderland respectively.
The following season, though, proved to be a lot more fruitful for the patient youngster as O’Shea featured for the Red Devils 13 times. This included him making both his Premiership and UEFA Champions League debut. O’Shea also had a short-stint on loan with Belgian-side, Royal Antwerp.
It was during that campaign that O’Shea also received his first senior cap for the Republic of Ireland, where he played in a 2-2 draw against Croatia.
The Start Of Success
In 2002/03, O’Shea experienced his biggest breakthrough campaign of his career at that time, making 56 appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in all competitions.
It was certainly a season to remember for the youngster, as the campaign ended in his first piece of silverware. O’Shea was a champion of England for the first time.
Further triumph followed in the next campaign as well, when O’Shea was called on to stand in for Rio Ferdinand and he successfully helped United to a FA Cup after defeating Millwall 3-0 in the final.
Now an established and versatile member of the side, it seemed to be success after success for O’Shea with the Irishman winning the League Cup in 2006 and both a Community Shield and a further Premier League title in 2007.
In 2007, O’Shea even went above and beyond his call of duty, standing in for an injured Edwin van der Sar between the sticks and denying an effort from Robbie Keane against Tottenham in the game’s final minutes.
A Season To Remember
The 2007/08 campaign for O’Shea at United was one that proved to be the defender’s most successful one to date.
During that season, O’Shea won his second Community Shield, a third Premier League title, a first Champions League and also a FIFA Club World Cup.
As well as titles, O’Shea also captained United for the first time in a League Cup fixture against Coventry City at Old Trafford.
Three more campaigns with Manchester United followed after, and with that, more trophies also undoubtedly followed.
Before leaving the Red Devils in 2011, O’Shea earned further trophies in the form of two more Premier League titles, two more Community Shields and a League Cup.
In total, O’Shea appeared for Manchester United a total of 392 times and scored 15 goals.
A New Challenge
On 7th July 2011, O’Shea joined Sunderland on a four-year-deal after former Manchester United defender, Steve Bruce, fought off competition to secure the decorated Irishman’s signature.
In his time at Sunderland, O’Shea was one of the first names on the teamsheet at the Stadium of Light and helped the Black Cats to maintain their top flight status for six successive seasons.
The Irishman also helped Sunderland to an unsuccessful League Cup final in 2014 – impressively helping the Black Cats beat his former side in Manchester United over two legs in the previous round.
After the Black Cats sustained relegation to the Championship at the end of the 2016/17 season, O’Shea committed his future to Sunderland and attempted to help them to gain promotion back to the Premier League.
In total, featured for 40 games during Sunderland’s first Championship campaign in 10 years, but his performances could not prevent the Black Cats from suffering a further relegation to League One at the end of the 2017/18 season.
The Move To Madejski
On 6th June 2018, John O’Shea opted to swap the Stadium of Light for Madejski Stadium.
The decorated and versatile Irishman will officially join the Royals on 1st July upon the expiry of his current contract with Sunderland.
Serving as the Republic of Ireland’s third most capped player, O’Shea featured for the U21’s before earning his first call-up to the senior squad in August 2001 against Croatia under the management of Mick McCarthy.
His versatility meant that O’Shea was a regular feature of the Irish national squad and he scored his first international goal in 2003 against Australia in-front of a home crowd.
During his time as Ireland player, O’Shea played a key part in both World-Cup and European qualifying campaigns.
In 2014, O’Shea marked his 100th cap with a bang after he scored a crucial equaliser in an UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against reigning World-Cup Champions, Germany, with the last kick of the match.
As an international, O’Shea finally got his taste of finals football after he captained Ireland in their first two group-stage matches at the UEFA Euro 2016 Championships in France.
On 2nd June 2018, O’Shea played his final game for Ireland in-front of a home crowd in a 2-1 win over the United States at the Aviva Stadium.
In total, O’Shea racked up 118 senior caps for his nation behind only Robbie Keane (146) and Shay Given (134).