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Conversation with O'Neill persuaded O'Shea to continue his international career

The 35-year-old currently has a year left on his Sunderland contract.

Image: Chris Radburn

MARTIN O’NEILL HAS revealed that a conservation between himself and John O’Shea prompted the Ireland defender to put off any immediate thoughts of retiring from international football.

Irish football legends Robbie Keane and Shay Given announced their respective retirements from international football following Euro 2016, and many expected 35-year-old O’Shea to do likewise.

However, it seems that O’Shea will continue on for now, as Ireland aim to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“I spoke to John. I said that there’s still room for him here as a player. He’s one year left of his contract at club level.

If he was thinking about retiring, I wanted him to have second thoughts about it, because I still believe his particular influence around the place is very strong.

“The younger players have benefited from that (influence). I still believe John has something to offer for us in every capacity.

“I think on the strength of that (conversation), John thought ‘let’s see how it goes from here and take it on’.

I’d bracket John alongside Robbie (Keane) in terms of his influence around the place. It’s in a different manner completely to Robbie but the same sort of influence.”

O’Shea and Seamus Coleman are the two most likely candidates to take over as permanent team captain once Keane bids farewell to international football against Oman at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night.

However, on the subject of the captaincy, O’Neill wasn’t willing to reveal too much, saying: “I have something in mind, and I’ll let you know (at a later point).”

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