Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Fanfare as O'Shea Simply Gets on with the Job in Hand; THE AGENDA: Numbers Add Up to an Impressive Career for Sunderland Skipper Sunderland Captain John O'Shea Will Win His 100th Cap Tonight. Yet the Man Who Deserves So Much Praise Won't Want Any Fuss, Says Neil Cameron

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Fanfare as O'Shea Simply Gets on with the Job in Hand; THE AGENDA: Numbers Add Up to an Impressive Career for Sunderland Skipper Sunderland Captain John O'Shea Will Win His 100th Cap Tonight. Yet the Man Who Deserves So Much Praise Won't Want Any Fuss, Says Neil Cameron

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil Cameron

JOHN O'SHEA played almost 400 first-team matches for Manchester United before moving to Sunderland.

During his three and a bit years on Wearside, the Irishman has up to now featured in 121 games, many of them as captain.

And in the industrial city of Gelsenkirchen this evening, the centre-half will win his 100th international cap for the Republic against world champions Germany.

These are incredible statistics. You don't play that amount of games, big games as well, without having something about you.

And yet few would associate O'Shea with such impressive numbers. His career tally of five Premier League titles and one Champions League would surprise those who have not studied the career of the 33-year-old from Waterford.

But for me, the most impressive aspect of O'Shea is his contribution to the Sunderland cause since signing for the club in 2011 for a few million quid.

Sure, he's no Paolo Maldini. There have been brushes with relegation, some shocking runs of results, and a few good times as well, so it's been a bit of a mixed bag for a man who once captained Manchester United in a Champions League semi-final win over Schalke 04.

And it's because of this last fact that O'Shea should be given far more credit that he does.

The list of players who have left Old Trafford for a smaller club, and it would be ridiculous to pretend that's not what happened here, and then failed dismally to hit their former heights is lengthy.

Many complain about what for them is a demotion once Sir Alex Ferguson decided they weren't for him any more.

In Manchester, everything is done for them. They lived in a bubble where most games end in victory and really good times are never far away.

And then it's over. They end up in a place called Sunderland where you lose games to teams that normally wouldn't cause any problems.

The money isn't so good. It's not as glamorous. Things are done differently, certainly not as well, at least in the eyes of the player. Some chuck it. Others simply become shadows of what they were. Not O'Shea.

Now doing his well-paid job properly is not on its own something to admire him for. Sunderland is a great club, a big club, so it's not as if he's gone from facing Barcelona to a League Two club where you have to train in a public park.

Sunderland is a lot more than that, but it's a different life to that at Old Trafford. Too many can't or won't cope when they leave that club. Phil Neville is one who did. O'Shea is another.

He has not always been brilliant, however, it is his leadership qualities, his character that has won him so many friends and admirers at the Stadium Of Light.

O'Shea has been a huge influence behind the scenes. I was told yesterday that there have even been occasions when he took training in the absence of certain staff - not under the present regime it must be said. …

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