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John Francis O'Shea (born 30 April 1981) is an Irish professional football, who currently plays for Manchester United and the Republic of Ireland national team.

Born in Waterfordmarker, O'Shea moved to Manchestermarker when he was 17 and is considered by many as one of the most versatile players in the Premier League. He has played in every position for Manchester United, including a brief spell as an emergency goalkeeper in a match against Tottenhammarker.

Club career

Manchester United

Prior to joining the Manchester United academy, O'Shea played for the local youth teams in his native Waterfordmarker where he was first spotted by United scouts. He signed professional forms at the age of 17 and made his professional debut in 1999 against Aston Villa at Villa Parkmarker in a 3–0 Football League Cup defeat.

Following loan spells at Bournemouth and Belgian side Royal Antwerp he returned to Manchester and began to feature in the United first team in the 2002–03 season, demonstrating versatility by playing at left-back, right-back, centre-back and central midfield during the successful 2002–03 Premiership campaign.

In 2003–04, United were without Rio Ferdinand after he began a suspension for missing a drugs test in January, and O'Shea took over from Ferdinand in central defence, helping United reach the FA Cup Final where they triumphed 3–0 over Millwall.

He displayed indifferent form in the 2004–05 season and was linked with a move away from Manchester, with Newcastle and Liverpool being linked with the Irishman. One of the highlights of Manchester United's otherwise slightly disappointing season was the 4–2 away victory against Arsenal, in which O'Shea scored the fourth goal by chipping Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia from the edge of the 18 yard box.

An injury to Gary Neville in the 2005–06 season also gave O'Shea more first-team opportunities. He was criticised for his lacklustre performances that season, and was reportedly one of the players lambasted by United veteran Roy Keane in a controversial interview on the club's MUTV channel.

On 4 February 2007, during league game against Tottenham Hotspur, O'Shea deputised for Edwin van der Sar in goal after the van der Sar was taken off the pitch for a broken nose, while Manchester United had already used all three substitutes. During this time he denied his Republic of Ireland teammate Robbie Keane a goal with a save a few minutes before full time. Following this incident, United fans chanted "Ireland's number one" in O'Shea's honour.

A month later he won over many United fans by scoring an injury time winner against Liverpool at Anfieldmarker for United in the league, having come on as a substitute for Wayne Rooney. This goal was important in United going on to regain the Premiership trophy for the 2006–07 season. He also rescued his team against Everton in one of the final games of the season, when he bundled the ball in the net after Everton goalkeeper Iain Turner fumbled a Ryan Giggs corner. United went on to win 4–2. This was perhaps an even more decisive goal, as Bolton were drawing with Chelsea at the same time and defeat would have let Chelsea back into the title race. He scored another goal from close range, in a 2–1 defeat away to Portsmouth that season, this goal came during an injury hit part of the season, were O'Shea, as a versatile player, was required to play at full back. O'Shea had a shooting accuracy of 100% and scored with 80% of his shots in the 2006–07 season.

John O'Shea playing in the 2008–09 Champions League semi-final.
During the 2007–08 season, Manchester United used O'Shea as an emergency striker due to injury problems. His use as a striker gave him the distinction of having played in every position for Manchester United. In November 2007, O'Shea extended his contract at Manchester United, to keep him at the club until 2012. Throughout the 2007–2008 season O'Shea came off the bench several times and proved important as a utility player on the way to a European double. O'Shea captained his club for the first time, during a 2–0 home defeat to Coventry City in the League Cup Fourth Round.

Throughout the 2008–09 season, O'Shea became a regular within the team, deputising at right back because of injuries to Gary Neville and Wes Brown. On 20 January 2009, O'Shea scored his first goal of the season against Derby County in the 2nd leg of the Carling Cup semi-final. O'Shea then started the 2009 Football League Cup Final, before being replaced by Nemanja Vidić on 76 minutes, United won the game 4–1 on penalties. On 29 April 2009, O'Shea scored the only goal of the game in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Arsenal, this set United up to go on and win in the second leg by 4–1 on aggregate. O'Shea started and played the full 90 minutes in the 2009 Champions League Final 2–0 loss to Barcelona, and by many accounts was one of United's better performers on the night. Sir Alex Ferguson had promised O'Shea, who was an unused substitute in the 2008 Champions League Final, a starting place in the 2009 final for his contribution to the team that season.

O'Shea captained United for the first time in their first game against Birmingham City in the 2009–10 season. He celebrated his 350th appearance fittingly by scoring his first league goal in over two years against Stoke City on 29 September 2009, firing a header in a 2–0 win.

International career

O'Shea earned his first senior cap for the Republic of Ireland on 15 August 2001, when he came on as an 84th minute substitute at home to Croatia. His debut ended in disappointment, however, when he gave away a penalty in injury time, which resulted in Ireland conceding their lead, and the game ending 2-2. His versatility has earned him a place in the starting eleven. Although played in various positions during last few qualifying campaigns, he has made the defensive slot his own, mainly in central defence with Richard Dunne and at right back on occasion or filling in for injured players.

During the 2010 World Cup qualifying, O'Shea was ever present in the starting line-up for 8 of the 10 games. In the 1 April 2009 crunch clash with Italy, he was elbowed in the forehead by Giampaolo Pazzini, who earned the record for the fastest sending off in Italian football history. After receiving treatment for the bleeding, O'Shea continued playing all 90 minutes.

Career statistics

Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 1999–2000 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Bournemouth (loan) 1999–2000 10 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 1
Manchester United 2000–01 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Royal Antwerp (loan) 2000–01 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 0
Manchester United 2001–02 9 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 0 0 13 0
2002–03 32 0 1 0 3 0 16 0 0 0 52 0
2003–04 33 2 6 0 2 0 7 0 1 0 49 2
2004–05 23 2 4 1 4 0 5 0 1 0 37 3
2005–06 34 1 2 0 4 1 7 0 0 0 47 2
2006–07 32 4 5 0 1 0 11 1 0 0 49 5
2007–08 28 0 2 0 1 0 6 0 1 0 38 0
2008–09 30 0 4 0 6 1 12 1 2 0 54 2
2009–10 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 8 1
Total 228 10 24 1 25 2 67 2 6 0 350 15
Total 252 11 24 1 25 2 67 2 6 0 374 16

Statistics accurate as of match played 26 September 2009



Manchester United


  2. O'Shea proud of keeper stint
  3. BBC Sport: Everton 2-4 Manchester United
  4. SkySports: United's midfield options
  5. BBC Sport: Man Utd 4-2 Derby (4-3 agg)
  6. BBC Sport: Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal
  7. BBC Sport: O'Shea picked to start Euro final
  9. Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, FIFA Club World Cup

External links

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