O'Shea relishing fresh start
John O'Shea cannot wait for the new season to start so he can put last season's torment behind him.
Although he shares a common desire for Manchester United to reclaim their Premier League title and get further than the last eight of the Champions League, O'Shea also wants to get his club career back on track.
Everything was going smoothly for the Irishman until he suffered a dead leg in his country's fateful World Cup play-off encounter with France in Paris last November.
As the dust was settling on the controversial Thierry Henry handball that allowed the French to claim their place in South Africa, complications were setting in as O'Shea started his recovery.
It ended up with blood seeping into the muscle which prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to announce that the Waterford-born utility man would miss the remainder of the season.
Although that prognosis did not prove to be correct as O'Shea returned to action as substitute for Wayne Rooney in the Champions League second leg against Bayern Munich that ultimately ended in so much disappointment, the Irishman admitted it was a worrying time.
"It was a freakish injury and I was a little bit worried," he said.
"The medical staff were great. They just told me I needed a little bit of time.
"What happened was not natural but because it was in the middle of the muscle we knew it would eventually dissolve away."
That is exactly how it worked out, although for a player who is not used to being on the sidelines through injury, it was a frustrating period of time.
"I expected to be back in a week or 10 days. It proved to be five months," he reflected.
"I have never been injured for longer than two weeks, so to be out for that long was very frustrating, especially when you consider all the big games you are missing out on.
"It was very disappointing but it is part of life. Thankfully it is all cleared up and now I am raring to go."
O'Shea is looking to the new campaign with relish.
Like the rest of his team-mates, he will only be watching as the Premier League clicks into gear over the weekend as United's opening game against Newcastle has been pushed back to Monday evening.
Although the Red Devils are widely accepted to have taken a step backwards from the side Cristiano Ronaldo inspired to a hat-trick of titles, they still only finished a point behind double-winners Chelsea, who they beat so comfortably at Wembley in the Community Shield on Sunday.
Despite the strife they have suffered during pre-season and the huge amounts of cash Roberto Mancini has been spending at Manchester City, Chelsea are still the team O'Shea feels will be the biggest obstacle. He does not view the Londoners to be out of reach, though.
"It is a bridgeable gap," he said.
"You look at some of the games and remember the injuries that came at vital times and realise they were all factors in why we ultimately lost the league.
"It is going to be close again and you would have to look at Chelsea as your number one rival.
"Over the last few seasons they have kept their consistency and they were the ones challenging us when we went on the run of league wins.
"There are definitely a few other teams wanting to challenge that but hopefully, while it might be as exciting as last season, this time we can sneak it."