Sunderland’s O’Shea must prove fitness for Euro 2012

John O'Shea

John O'Shea

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JOHN O’Shea must prove his fitness in Hungary next Monday or risk missing out on the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2012 campaign.

The Sunderland defender was absent from the Ireland side that edged past Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday as he continues to undergo treatment on the ankle injury aggravated during the Black Cats’ defeat to Manchester United on the final day of the season.

Although O’Shea travelled with the rest of the Ireland party to Italy yesterday for a week-long training camp in Tuscany, his participation in next month’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine remains in doubt.

All Euro 2012 participants must submit their final 23-man squads by noon tomorrow and O’Shea’s name is expected to be on the list sent to Uefa after being included in Ireland’s provisional group earlier this month.

But under Uefa rules, countries are still able to replace players, who have suffered injuries that are sufficiently serious to prevent them taking part in the tournament. Should O’Shea fail to appear in Ireland’s final warm-up game against Hungary, in Budapest, next Monday, then manager Giovanni Trapattoni could re-consider the 31-year-old’s position in the squad.

Trapattoni said: “I think O’Shea can play in Hungary. He assured me that he can be ready. But we wait because in Budapest he must play. I preserve him against Bosnia, like (Shay) Given. I said I would not run the risk but in Hungary he must play or else we have to look at another option.”

Trapattoni has criticised O’Shea’s decision to start Sunderland’s final game of the season after he had been suffering from calf and ankle problems for several weeks. But O’Shea played down the rift at Ireland’s training base late last week and remains confident that he will be fit for the opening Euro 2012 clash against Croatia on Sunday, June 10.

O’Shea said: “I was fit for the (Man United) game. It just so happened that I went over on it (the ankle) again. It was just one of those things but thankfully it’s not too serious. It’s responding well now.

“I’ve been doing a lot of work with Ciarán the physio over the last couple of days.

“I’ve been twisting and turning and sprinting and jogging and doing a bit more ball work.”

Should O’Shea miss out on the Euro’s, then former Sunderland defender Paul McShane, who played against Bosnia, is likely to be drafted in as his replacement.