Sport Soccer

Monday 18 December 2017

O'Shea injury fear

Defender a doubt for key Euro qualifiers after latest setback

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI was last night sweating over the fitness of John O'Shea for Ireland's crucial Euro 2012 qualifiers against Slovakia and Russia in September.

O'Shea returned home from Sunderland's summer tour of Germany yesterday after being injured on his debut for the club against Arminia Bielefeld.

Sunderland officials described the injury as a "muscle strain" but there are concerns that it may be more serious, casting a doubt over whether he will be fit for Ireland's friendly against Croatia on August 10 and the start of the Premier League three days later.

The former Manchester United defender was forced off after 34 minutes of the friendly and now faces an anxious 48-hour wait before learning the results of a scan that will determine the full extent of the injury.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce tried to play down the problem but, given O'Shea's history of hamstring injuries, he won't be taking anything for granted.

"There's no point in taking risks during pre-season," Bruce said.

"John isn't going to play against Hannover or Monchengladbach, so we thought it would be easier if he flew home early to rest up and he can come back stronger when we return from Germany."

Meanwhile, Alex Ferguson is insisting that Darron Gibson is "in limbo" after his move to Sunderland broke down last week during the contract negotiations.

Gibson looked set to join former Manchester United colleagues Wes Brown and O'Shea at the Stadium of Light earlier this month, only for the deal to collapse over personal terms.

That has annoyed Ferguson, who claimed Gibson -- who was asking for £40,000 a week -- felt they had changed their offer at the last minute.

"He was at the point of going to Sunderland and somewhere along the line, I think Sunderland moved the goalposts. I suppose their job is to try and save money," Ferguson said yesterday.

"From what I can gather, they gave him an offer and then changed it. That annoyed Darron and I think he's quite right. If you can't trust them on day one, why wait until day two?"

That version of events has been denied by Sunderland.

Irish Independent

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