Date of birth
Republic of Ireland
John O’Shea put pen to paper on a one-year contract at Madejski Stadium when his deal at Sunderland expired on Sunday 1st July 2018.
With the close season little more than four weeks old, O’Shea became the third player to commit to a contract in RG2 – following Andy Yiadom and David Meyler through the gate at Hogwood Park - and a more decorated professional than the former Manchester United and Sunderland centre-half would be difficult to unearth.
First signing professional forms at the age of 17, John O’Shea made his professional debut in a cup clash at Villa Park in 1999 and began what was to become an incredible journey with United.
Aside from early loan spells at Bournemouth and Royal Antwerp in Belgium, the Waterford-born centre-half spent 12 years at Old Trafford, making 393 appearances and winning an astounding 15 trophies under Sir Alex Ferguson.
That haul included no fewer than five Premier League titles (three of which came in a row) and a Champions League win over Chelsea in Moscow in 2008. And O’Shea became a regular on the teamsheet at Old Trafford – whether playing at left-back, right-back, centre-back or in central midfield.
United fans will fondly remember a Champions League semi-final goal against Arsenal and an injury time winner against Liverpool at Anfield; John scored 10 goals for Manchester United, whom he also captained on a number of occasions.
But has O’Shea ever played in an FA Cup Final? Yes he has…helping United see off Millwall with a 3-0 win at the Millennium Stadium in 2004. And he has three League Cup-winners medals too; O’Shea played in a 2009 Wembley win over Tottenham and victory against Wigan Athletic in Cardiff three years earlier, before watching United lift the trophy once more against Aston Villa in 2010.
Four Community Shields and a FIFA Club World Cup triumph later, O’Shea left Manchester to sign for Sunderland in 2011 and he soon earned the captaincy at the Stadium of Light.
He reached another cup final as a Black Cat, playing alongside our very own Vito Mannone in a Capital One Cup Final defeat to Manchester City at Wembley four years ago – having knocked out his former employers Manchester United in the semi-final to lead Sunderland out at Wembley.
And he totted up nearly as many appearances on Wearside as he did during his successful stretch at United, playing regularly throughout a seven-year spell in the north-east including a total of 40 appearances for Sunderland last season.
On the international scene, O’Shea has just played his last game for the Republic of Ireland. He retired from international football after an incredible 118 appearances when Martin O’Neill’s men won 2-1 against the USA last Saturday.
Mick McCarthy had handed him his full Irish debut against Croatia at Lansdowne Road back in August 2001 and, in representing the Republic, he helped his nation reach the finals of the European Championships in both 2012 and 2016.
The centre-back captained Ireland in winning his 80th cap against Serbia in Belgrade and scored against world champions Germany on his 100th international appearance for his country, representing his nation with distinction across a period of 17 years.
He joined a select group of Irish legends including Roy Keane, John Aldridge, Damien Duff, Steve Staunton and former Royals Ray Houghton and Kevin Doyle when he was named as the FAI Senior International Player of the Year in 2014 – the third-most capped player for his country (behind Shay Given and Robbie Keane)!
O'Shea hung up his boots as a Royal but was soon appointed to the coaching staff at Reading - a valuable asset having already worked under the likes of Martin O'Neill, Chris Coleman, Giovanni Trapattoni, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce, Dick Advocaat and Sir Alex Ferguson during his playing career.