World Cup ambitions key factor as Sunderland skipper attracts interest from four Championship clubs

Sunderland skipper John O'Shea

Sunderland skipper John O'Shea

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Sunderland skipper John O'Shea is attracting interest from four Championship clubs - with his ambition to play at next summer's World Cup a key factor in determining his future.

The 36-year-old centre-back is out of contract this summer and Sunderland face competition to retain his signature.

The club is still without a manager, two weeks on from David Moyes' resignation, with the club's retained list yet to be confirmed.

Moyes had strongly hinted that O'Shea, who made 33 appearances in all competitions for club and country last season, was in line for a new deal.

Fresh reports in Ireland claim O'Shea's preference is to remain at the Stadium of Light but needs guarantees from whoever takes over as manager that he is a part of their plans.

The former Manchester United defender doesn't want to be sat on the bench next season as he aims to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia with the Republic of Ireland.

And those World Cup ambitions will play a key part in his decision to stay on Wearside or move on, with Wolverhampton Wanderers understood to be one of the four clubs interested in signing O'Shea.

The Irish Times quote a source close to O'Shea saying: "John, ideally, wants to remain with Sunderland but only if he’s going to play.

"If their new manager is not overly keen on John, then he has to leave, because his Irish place is dependent on him being active at club level.

"John has never been to a World Cup - he has played Champions League finals, FA Cup finals, captained Sunderland in the League Cup final and been to the Euros.

"But he wants to go to a World Cup.

"He knows he may not get there if he’s sitting on a bench for the last year of his career.

"Four clubs are interested in him [all in the Championship]. Wolves are one of those."

Other Sunderland players out of contract this summer include Jan Kirchhoff, Victor Anichebe, Seb Larsson, Steven Pienaaar and Joleon Lescott.

Former loanee Jason Denayer has already returned to parent club Manchester City while the futures of Papy Djilobodji and Lamine Kone remain up in the air, strengthening O'Shea's case for a new deal.