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John O'Shea announces retirement from professional football on 38th birthday

The 118-time capped Ireland defender will bow out after Reading’s game against Birmingham this Sunday.

JOHN O’SHEA WILL bring the curtain down on a decorated club and international career this Sunday when Reading play the final game of their Championship season. 

The 118-time capped Ireland defender has today announced, on his 38th birthday, that he is to retire from professional football this weekend.

Reading v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship - Madejski Stadium O'Shea signed a one-year deal with Reading last summer. Source: Isabel Infantes

It will mark the end of an illustrious 20-year career in the professional game for the Waterford native, who came up through Manchester United’s academy to play more than 250 games for the club.

During his time at Old Trafford, O’Shea was part of five Premier League-winning sides, while also helping United to an FA Cup, two League Cups, four Community Shields and, in 2008, the Champions League and Fifa Club World Cup.

“Everybody at the club would like to wish ‘Sheasy’ the very best in his retirement,” a Manchester United statement read.

O’Shea went on to spend seven years with Sunderland and, most recently, has been on the books at Reading, making eight first-team appearances for the Royals this season.

The 38-year-old, one of just six senior men’s players to reach 100 caps for Ireland, bowed out of the international game against USA last June, having made his first appearance for the Boys in Green against Croatia back in 2001.  

O’Shea represented Ireland in two tournaments — Euro 2012 and Euro 2016 — and was named FAI Senior International Player of the Year in 2014, the same year he grabbed a memorable late equaliser as Ireland drew 1-1 away to reigning world champions Germany.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - First Leg - Manchester United v Arsenal - Old Trafford O'Shea won five Premier League titles with United. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

“‘Sheasy’ will be fondly remembered by all United fans for some magical moments during his illustrious career,” the United statement continued.

“A barnstorming performance at full-back against Newcastle United helped spawn the ‘When Johnny goes marching down the wing’ chant and who can forget his dramatic late winner at Anfield in 2007? The goal was a key one en route to winning another title and came in front of the Kop.

“He also scored a majestic chip in a famous 4-2 win at rivals Arsenal in 2005, the winner in the home leg of the Champions League semi-final against the Gunners four years later, and managed to nutmeg Real Madrid star Luis Figo at Old Trafford in 2003.” 

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Ryan Bailey

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