World Cup ambition driving O'Shea to play on

Veteran John O'Shea

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Ireland veteran John O'Shea says that his dream of playing in a first-ever World Cup finals before his career is over has convinced him to stick with his international team-mates.

Shay Given and Robbie Keane retired from international football after Euro 2016 and there were fears that O'Shea - who turns 36 next month - would also walk away, especially as he was dropped after the 3-0 loss to Belgium at the Euros.

But the Sunderland man is almost certain to start in a patched-up defence against Wales on Friday as O'Shea, who didn't make the cut for the 2002 World Cup finals, wants to play on that stage.

"I've not been to a World Cup, so that's been a driving ambition," says O'Shea, likely to win his 117th cap on Friday.

"I've done okay in my career. But obviously not getting to a World Cup so far has been annoying, to say the least, with how close we've come a couple of times. You always wish you were there. You get on with it, you move on. We've qualified for the last couple of Euros but the World Cup has just evaded us," added O'Shea.

With Shane Duffy and Ciarán Clark out due to injury, O'Shea is expected to start alongside Richard Keogh.