John O’Shea calls time on 19-year playing career

Former Manchester United defender John O’Shea will retire after the final match of the Sky Bet Championship season on Sunday, his club Reading have announced.

The 38-year-old’s decision was announced on his birthday, as the five-time Premier League winner prepares to bring down the curtain on a playing career spanning almost two decades.

The Royals host Birmingham on Sunday, with O’Shea likely to play some part.

One of O'Shea's most memorable moments came when he scored a last-gasp winner for Manchester United at Liverpool.

One of O’Shea’s most memorable moments came when he scored a last-gasp winner for Manchester United at Liverpool. (Peter Byrne/PA)

Having come through the ranks at Manchester United, the versatile O’Shea – who operated in defence or central midfield – also won the FA Cup, Champions League and two League Cups to go alongside his five league winners’ medals.

O’Shea announced his retirement having spent the final season of his playing career at Reading after a seven-year stint at Sunderland.

As well as making 393 appearances for Manchester United, O’Shea also collected 118 senior caps for the Republic of Ireland and captained the team at Euro 2016.

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“A fabulous playing career is coming to a close – today, on his 38th birthday, John O’Shea has announced he is to retire at the end of the season,” tweeted Reading.

“Just a very small part of his playing days have been spent with the Royals, but he has amassed a medal collection that any player would be extremely proud of, winning almost everything possible during almost 20 years as a professional footballer.”

United, meanwhile, drew on some of O’Shea’s highlights from his time with the club, posting videos which included a last-minute winner at Liverpool, a memorable goal against Arsenal at Highbury and his nutmeg on Real Madrid’s Luis Figo during a Champions League clash at Old Trafford.

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O’Shea left United after winning his fifth and final Premier League title in 2011, opting to move to Sunderland.

Much of his time at the Stadium of Light was spent battling to keep the Black Cats in the top-flight, although they eventually succumbed to relegation in 2017.

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O’Shea would play on in the Sky Bet Championship but could not help prevent Sunderland suffering back-to-back relegations and dropping into League One.

He would then depart for Reading and has made 10 appearances for the Royals with one game of the season remaining.

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