Sunderland skipper John O'Shea reveals he wants to keep playing beyond this season

John O'Shea

John O'Shea

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Sunderland skipper John O'Shea has confirmed he wants to keep playing football beyond this season.

The 35-year-old's Sunderland deal runs out at the end of this season but has no intention of hanging up his boots just yet.

Sunderland face O'Shea's former club Manchester United at Old Trafford on Boxing Day and he hopes it won't be last trip there as a player.

On his future, O'Shea said: "I hope it won’t be my last trip there.

"I’m fit and well and want to play on.

"Thankfully throughout my career I’ve rarely had to have a long spell out or had major operations. I’m looking to play as long as possible.

"I was fairly confident when I left United that I would still be playing now because of the way I have looked after myself and done the right things through my career.

"I have some excellent examples at United, from people maintaining their careers."

Sunderland boss David Moyes has already said contract talks with those players whose deals run out next summer are not on his agenda until the club's Premier League fate is known.

Republic of Ireland international O'Shea has made 11 appearances for the Black Cats this season and is set for a run in the side when Ivory Coast international Lamine Kone departs for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

O'Shea signed for Sunderland in July 2011 and he has admitted it was a wrench to leave Old Trafford.

When asked if he wished he had stayed longer, O’Shea added: "“Yes - I have thought that a few times.

"I had a year left on my contract and we always said over the years that I could leave if the manager thought I wasn’t going to get enough football to keep me happy.

"It’s all ifs and buts but at the time I thought I was going to guarantee myself a lot more football if I went away from United. But it wasn’t an easy decision, that’s for sure."

Sunderland are third-bottom ahead of the visit to the North West, climbing off the bottom of the Premier League thanks to the 1-0 win over Watford.

O'Shea is looking forward to returning to his former stomping ground.

"It’s always a special day for me when I go back to Old Trafford," he said.

"They have hit a little bit of form recently, but when you go there you do get a chance to play.

"You have to express yourself.

"Some of our team haven’t played there so it will be a good atmosphere for them and we’ll be able to pass on our experience of the place. It still has a big place in my heart.

"The times that I had there and the success we had will stay with me for a long time. It’s always good to go back and see a few familiar faces. There are still one or two that I recognise.

"Their fans have always been good to me and they appreciate me when I go back."