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John O'Shea dismisses report suggesting he is set to retire at the end of the season

The 36-year-old joined Sunderland in 2011.

Image: Ian Horrocks

JOHN O’SHEA HAS moved to dismiss speculation that he is set to retire at the end of the season.

The Times Ireland reported earlier this week that the 36-year-old ‘is expected to announce the end of his playing career within the next five weeks,’ but O’Shea insists he has no plans to hang up his boots yet.

The Republic of Ireland defender will be out of contract with Sunderland at the end of this season after signing a one-year deal last summer. And though he will discuss his future with the Stadium of Light club at the end of the campaign, he’s eager to keep playing.

Speaking to the Sunderland club website, O’Shea said:

“I’m fit and well and you can see that by the amount of games I’ve played consecutively this season, especially over the festive period where I played five or six games in 10 days.

“When you retire from playing it’s a permanent retirement and there’s no going back, and whenever I speak to former pros or team-mates, they all say to play on for as long as you can.”

“When I wake up in the morning my body still feels good – believe me, if it didn’t I’d be the first one to admit it and finish up.

There’s plenty of things to look forward to when my playing career ends, from coaching and management to media and punditry work, and spending more time with my family, but my wife is certainly happy I’ve decided to play on for another year!”

Sunderland are currently bottom of the Sky Bet Championship table, and O’Shea says that his immediate focus is to help his side climb up the placings and get out of relegation danger.

The Waterford man believes he still has more to give.

“Perhaps I didn’t expect to play as much as I have this season, but I know I’m capable of playing week in, week out and I want to help the team so I’m ready whenever called upon.

“When the team does well, we all do well as a club, and that’s something I’ve taken with me throughout my career, and will continue to do so.

“We have eight games remaining this season and eight opportunities to pick up the points we need to get ourselves out of trouble.

“After that we can sit down and talk about my future, and whether I’m playing here or somewhere else next season.

O’Shea joined Sunderland in 2011 and has made more Premier League appearances than any other player in the club’s history.

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