As John O’Shea announced his retirement from international football this week he has been in demand for interviews, but in the most recent one he has been a bit more straightforward when giving an answer regarding his future as a Sunderland player.
In the chat with the Irish Independent, the Republic of Ireland defender said:
For the moment, my contract is up in June and I want to continue playing for another season. Where it will be, we will have to wait and see, and we will see what happens with things at Sunderland but yes, I would like to stay.
Hopefully things will be in place quickly and we will see how things are going to be done. Chris Coleman said before he left that Sunderland should be looking to go out and win League One but it will not be easy, as we have seen for clubs who have dropped into League One.
The 37-year old - who won the supporter’s player of the year award last week - admitted that it was an awkward time due to the club’s relegation:
It was a strange one all right. Any time you win the player of the year award should be a very nice moment and a very proud moment. Personally, it was nice to win of course but it was a bit surreal. Ultimately I don’t think there should be a player of the year award when a team has been relegated but the club has a tradition and wanted to keep that going. Hopefully the club can recover and kick on.
He has now backed the club to start anew and get back to where we belong, but cautioned that it must be done quickly in case we end up being left behind:
There are so many good people at the club, great supporters, amazing travelling support who always turn up in great numbers away from home, no matter how things are going. It’s a great club, a big club and it has been a tough few seasons for all of us, with change after change after change after change.
The club now have a chance to really get back to core values, re-group and really go again. Hopefully things can start happening soon, because there is a danger of getting left behind.
O’Shea also spoke about giving Bali Mumba the captain’s armband during the game with Wolverhampton Wanderers, which saw the 16-year old become the youngest captain in the club’s history, saying he saw it as a symbolic moment which gives the club a pathway to the future:
Bali has come into training with the first team during the season and done very well. He is a 16-year-old who has come into that environment and not looked out of place, got plenty of knocks and kicks and tackles and bounced back up and showed a good attitude, and I said to Robbie [Stockdale] he would be the perfect example of what this club’s future is all about.
It was a symbolic moment. That’s the future of the club, and lads like him really need to be looked after. Keeping the home-grown talent and bringing them through and developing them has to be the model they need going forward.
The captain also spoke about a future career in management, with his struggles and constant upheaval at Sunderland giving him a good balance of experience after his trophy laden years at Manchester United:
What has happened at Sunderland over the last couple of years has been hugely frustrating but playing for Manchester United was like living in a fantasy world and Sunderland was like the reality. Within three months of signing for Steve Bruce, he was sacked, and that started the cycle.
It happens in football, but I had that one constant in my life at Manchester United. Since then, I have seen so much stuff in the last few years at Sunderland, which will hopefully stand me in good stead for management, if I decide to go into that, or get an opportunity. It has been a great learning curve and I would be mad not to take something from it.
A manager has to have his own ideas and plans and I have seen so many things that have not worked out from so many different managers, in different situations. There are a lot of factors which affect things, but I have to take things on board and want to put them into practice. It has definitely given me more of a taste for it, rather than put me off.