John O'Shea to retire from international football following June friendly against the United States

Wed, May 09 2018

O'Shea in action for Ireland in a 1-0 win over Germany in 2015. Credit:

John O'Shea has announced he will retire from international football following next month's Aviva Stadium friendly at home to the United States.

Martin O'Neill's side face France in a friendly at Stade de France on May 28th before rounding off the season at home on June 2nd against the US.

The former Manchester United defender represented his country 117 times over a 17-year senior international career, scoring three goals in that time.

37-year-old O'Shea made his debut as a substitute in a 2-2 friendly draw with Croatia at Lansdowne Road and scored his goal two years later, in a 2-1 friendly win over Australia.

He was omitted from the squad for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, but was an integral part of the Ireland squads at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine and at Euro 2016 in France.

“It has been an amazing journey but I feel now is the right time to step aside for the next generation to enjoy the experiences I am so humbled to have been part of,” O'Shea wrote in an open letter to fans.

“We have just passed the 20th anniversary of the Ireland Under 16s winning the UEFA European Championships in Scotland and it is fitting that the current U17 squad are now competing on the same stage.

“I still look back at that particular triumph as the real starting point for my international career. I’m sure the young lads making up Colin O’Brien’s squad will be loving every minute of the tournament; just like I did under Brian Kerr and the late Noel O’Reilly.

“I’ve never taken anything in life for granted and the passing in the last year of my Dad, Jim, and my friend & team-mate Liam Miller has shown me that every moment in life (not just football) should be cherished.”

The former Bohemians Waterford schoolboy joined Manchester United as an 18-year-old and spent 12 years with the Old Trafford club.

He won five Premier League titles with the Red Devils and was part of the side that won the Champions League in 2008 before leaving the club in 2011.

Recent seasons have seen O'Shea taste successive relegations with Sunderland and is currently out of contract at the Stadium of Light.

 

Open letter to Ireland supporters from John O'Shea:

It has been an amazing journey but I feel now is the right time to step aside for the next generation to enjoy the experiences I am so humbled to have been part of.

We have just passed the 20th anniversary of the Ireland Under 16s winning the UEFA European Championships in Scotland and it is fitting that the current U17 squad are now competing on the same stage. I still look back at that particular triumph as the real starting point for my international career. I’m sure the young lads making up Colin O’Brien’s squad will be loving every minute of the tournament; just like I did under Brian Kerr and the late Noel O’Reilly.

I always wanted to play as much as I could at senior level and to now have 117 caps has truly been an honour.

There have been many highlights, such as leading Ireland out as captain, featuring at two UEFA European Championships, and getting to share a pitch alongside so many committed and talented players over the years.

It is a similar sentiment with regard to my managers at international level – Mick McCarthy, Brian Kerr, Steve Staunton, Don Givens, Giovanni Trapattoni, Noel King, and Martin O’Neill, they placed their trust in me and I hope that I paid them back in a small way by always giving everything on the pitch.

I would also like to acknowledge the support I have always received from Sunderland and, prior to that, Manchester United, in particular, Sir Alex Ferguson who is in my thoughts at the moment - get well soon Boss!

I’ve never taken anything in life for granted and the passing in the last year of my Dad, Jim, and my friend & team-mate Liam Miller has shown me that every moment in life (not just football) should be cherished.

I have certainly cherished my international career, it will be emotional walking out for the final time in front of the Ireland supporters. But it is now time to say thank you and allow others to lead the team forward, it’s been an amazing honour to wear our green shirt.

I would like to thank my family especially, my Mam, Mary, and brother Alan, who have given me nothing but support over the years, my friends, my underage coaches, especially at Ferrybank and Bohemians (Waterford), my schools Ferrybank BNS and De La Salle college, my team-mates, every staff member who has helped me through the years, my managers, and, most importantly, the Ireland supporters – it was always a real privilege to play in front of you!

To my wife, Yvonne, I thank you for your constant support, and to my kids, Alfie and Ruby, we can look forward to watching Ireland games together as supporters.