A career that spanned over 20 years, involving 803 games and a plethora of winners’ medals, came to an end on Sunday when John O’Shea hung up his boots for the final time.
A monumental career that saw the Ireland-born defender win almost everything possible, O’Shea took time to reflect on ending his career with the Royals after the full-time whistle against Birmingham.
“It was very special – It was a nice touch for the boys to do the guard of honour at the end… I had no idea! That’s why I was a bit surprised by it, I was one of them who just wanted to get on with the game, make sure we didn’t do anything strange towards the end.
“A very special moment though, I’ve only been at the club a short time playing wise, and it’s a fantastic club.
“You can see from the young players as well that started today, it’s a positive future for those boys as well so lots to look forward to for Reading fans.
“People were texting me during the week saying it would be emotional, I was trying to keep away from that, so I could try and soak it all up and enjoy it.
“I haven’t been here long but it’s a very family orientated club and they’ve made me feel very welcome, and my family too so we’re very appreciative of that.”
Looking back at where it all began, it’s been quite the journey for a young teenager who made the move abroad to play for Manchester United all those years back. To now, almost 20 years later and a medal collection that any player would be extremely proud of.
“To get the chance when I was 17, heading over from Waterford, Ireland, to think that I was going to play the amount of games that I did and lift the trophies, to be involved in the teams that I was, it was something that I could have only dreamt of,” O’Shea reflected.
“So, to get the chance to have done that is very special, something that myself and my family are very proud of.
“Thankfully I was able to get a few minutes towards the end, it wasn’t the season that we were hoping for, but the manager when he did come in, we managed to galvanise ourselves, and just about do enough to stay in the league. Hopefully we’ll be in the other end of the table next season.”
Talking about the future and what comes next for O’Shea, the ex-Ireland international said that he’d be looking forward to a well-deserved break with his family, and that hopefully he sees a coaching or management role occupying his time in the near future.
“Obviously take a little break with my family and look forward to the next step. Hopefully coaching and management, but let’s wait and see.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to jump into something quite quickly, but if it doesn’t happen, then enjoy the break as well and look back on a few years of the career."