JOHN O’Shea is just six appearances short of reaching a century of games for his country.
But in all of those international get-togethers, this week’s link-up with the Republic of Ireland squad has been one of the most welcome for the Sunderland skipper.
After the disappointment of Sunday’s defeat in the Capital One Cup final, O’Shea has welcomed the distraction of preparing for tonight’s friendly against Serbia - albeit Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has hinted he may take an experimental stance with his defence and leave out the 32-year-old.
And O’Shea says his anticipation is already growing again for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final, as Sunderland bid to reach Wembley for the second time this season.
“It’s obviously disappointing when you lose a final, simple as that,” said O’Shea.
“It was good to have this game coming up so quickly because the sooner the next game comes around after something like that, it gets the appetite going again to make sure you can get a chance to maybe go there (Wembley) again.
“We will have that at club level after this international game.”
Despite the disappointment at Wembley, O’Shea says he was still proud that Sunderland performed against Manchester City, before being hit by two stunning quick-fire goals during the second half.
“Look, we gave it a good shot,” added the centre-half.
“Unfortunately, Mr (Yaya) Toure came up with the goal that he did, but for the first 55 minutes, it was going according to plan and a second goal would have been nice.
“But up until the last few minutes, we were in with a shout of bringing it into extra-time as well.
“They scored two fantastic goals, don’t get me wrong, but we gave them a good scare. They knew they were in a cup final.”
O’Shea is determined to set the record straight as the Republic of Ireland prepare to meet the force of Germany once again.
The Republic found themselves thrust back into the path of one of world football’s superpowers when they were drawn into the same Euro 2016 qualifying group for the campaign which gets under way in September.
Tonight’s game follows a victory over Latvia and a draw in Poland in November as new management duo Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane launched their reign.
But memories of a 6-1 humiliation by the Germans at the Aviva Stadium in October, 2012, and a 3-0 defeat in Cologne in the reverse fixture 12 months later remain painfully fresh for those men who were on the receiving end.
O’Shea, sitting next to O’’Neill at the press conference, said: “Well look, you know how good they are. You want to test yourself against the best players, but also you can’t be greedy all the time and say you want the easiest group or you want this and you want that.
“You get who you get and you have to get on with it. Germany will be a massive test for us, but look, I know the man alongside of me and we are not going to be having a team-talk beforehand thinking, ‘We are going out and we are not going to win this game’.
“That’s something that’s going to be very positive to look forward to.”