Saturday 10 December 2016

John O'Shea set to fight for World Cup place

Published 20/07/2016 | 02:30

O’Shea is ready to remain available for selection as attention turns towards the start of the World Cup campaign in the autumn. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
O’Shea is ready to remain available for selection as attention turns towards the start of the World Cup campaign in the autumn. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ireland veteran John O'Shea is prepared to stay on and fight for his place in Martin O'Neill's World Cup squad if the manager still wants him.

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There were suggestions that the 35-year-old was set to quit international football after Ireland's interest in the European Championships ended, although he consistently refused to discuss the speculation.

O'Neill alluded to a possible changing of the guard while giving the impression that he would like the Sunderland defender to stick around because of his strong presence around the camp even when he lost his place during the French adventure.

And O'Shea is ready to remain available for selection as attention turns towards the start of the World Cup campaign in the autumn.

Speaking earlier this month, O'Neill said: "He's had a good influence with the younger players and over the two years, I couldn't speak more highly of him. I would like him to be with us for the next campaign."

Shay Given and Robbie Keane were expected to step aside - with the former giving a strong impression that he was ready to do so - but neither player has confirmed their intentions.

O'Shea faces strong competition for his place with two of his defensive rivals linked with transfers that could enhance their position.

West Brom are keen on buying Ciaran Clark from Aston Villa following their relegation to the Championship. They are prepared to pay £4.5m for the 26-year-old to keep him in the Premier League, but Villa could hold out for more despite their need to cut their wage bill.

Shane Duffy is also believed to be on West Brom's radar, although the Blackburn defender is a firm target for Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, with Swansea, Wolves and Crystal Palace also in the equation.

Duffy has just one year remaining on his contract at Blackburn and their new boss Owen Coyle has stressed that he wants to open talks on a new deal.

Irish Independent

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