John O'Shea should be handed a key role in Sunderland's bid to regain their place in the Premier League, according to Niall Quinn.
The Black Cats face an uncertain period after being relegated last Sunday after 10 years in the top flight.
More than half of their first-team squad, including O'Shea, are out of contract. The Irish international, who has spent his entire career playing in the Premier League celebrated his 36th birthday last week.
But Quinn, who spent six years as Sunderland chairman, is certain that the Waterford man still possesses the qualities to play a key role in the Black Cats' recovery.
"I'd hate to see all that knowledge and all that wisdom go out the door if John is allowed to leave," he said.
"He's been the backbone of Sunderland since he came in from Manchester United when I was at the club in 2011.
"He brought a professionalism into the dressing room that was very obvious for all to see which was a shining light in difficult years. John can be integral to the stability of the club. They need a presence there to help regenerate things and I'd like to see him provide that."
Quinn believes that the departure of Sam Allardyce to take the England job last July was a key factor in their fall from the Premier League.
"The Allardyce revolution being stopped in its tracks just when the club was looking like it would get some stability was a huge problem for them. Things deteriorated from there.
"There needs to a process put in place now for them to get back into the Premier League and I hope that includes David Moyes.
"The blame game will not help the club. The focus now has to be on the future. The fans must buy into that as well. They need to create a buzz again at the Stadium of Light."
Sunderland are £110m in the red and it's unclear if owner Ellis Short will follow the example of Newcastle, who spent £55m last summer and bounced straight back up.