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John O’Shea: another year, or time to say goodbye?

This week we polled our readers asking for their opinions regarding John O’Shea, and whether he should be awarded a new deal or not.

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images

Since joining the club in 2011, John O’Shea has managed 182 appearances for the club - not bad for a man the wrong side of 30. Throughout his time at the club, O’Shea has always come across as a dependable figure who, despite his declining athleticism, brings organization and discipline to the team thanks to his keen mind and understanding of the game.

This summer, however, O’Shea’s contract finally runs out leaving fans to ponder whether it might be a decent idea to keep the experienced Irishman around for another season as we face the very real possibility of relegation.

We decided to poll our fans and ask for their opinions.

More than half of you think that O’Shea deserves a new deal, though the results weren’t overwhelming by any means; and scrolling through the comments, there seems to be a real variety of opinions on the matter.

Some want O’Shea to hang around and provide stability as we edge closer and closer to relegation, though many noted they would be far more open to this idea should the club invest in a young central defender whom O’Shea could potentially mentor and guide in what could be his final playing season.

Others noted that O’Shea was alleged to be an unnerving presence in the dressing room, though claims like that seem to be rather unfair on a man who has undoubtedly given everything he has to offer to the club. Others argued he was just too old to carry on and this is the season he should transition into life off the playing field.

Furthermore, many fans seem keen to keep the seasoned veteran at the club in some capacity once his playing days are over. Several suggestions in the comments section of the poll argued that O’Shea must be kept at the club in some form of coaching role that would enable him to offer his sage-like wisdom to a younger generation of players who are likely to be the club’s best hope of coming back stronger in the near future.

Sunderland v Man Utd
Blast from the past.

I think it’s hard for many to argue that O’Shea has been a positive addition to the club. His experience and professionalism has been paramount to many of our recent escapes - often coming back into the starting line-up after time spent out of it only to help settle a side flirting with relegation.

His consistency and drive are real assets to this club, and whilst his legs might be slowing and his lungs working that little bit more in order to keep up with the pace of the game, O’Shea is still a key figure at the club.

If we are indeed craving stability and consistency, surely keeping John O’Shea either on the pitch, or indeed at the club in some capacity is the best option we have moving forward? He’s British, determined and seems like a real gent - what more do you want from your players?

On this occasion I’d side with the fans regarding the results of this poll: John O’Shea deserves a new contract.