Sunderland captain quashes retirement reports
John O'Shea has rejected suggestions that he is about to hang up his boots.
The 36-year-old sees his current Sunderland contract expire at the end of the Championship campaign and reports from Ireland said he would then call time on his lengthy playing career.
O'Shea, however, says he is more than ready for another year on the pitch.
He told safc.com: "I’m fit and well and you can see that by the amount of games I’ve played consecutively this season, especially over the festive period where I played five or six games in 10 days,
“When you retire from playing it’s a permanent retirement and there’s no going back, and whenever I speak to former pros or team-mates, they all say to play on for as long as you can.
"When I wake up in the morning my body still feels good – believe me, if it didn’t I’d be the first one to admit it and finish up," he added.
“There’s plenty of things to look forward to when my playing career ends, from coaching and management to media and punditry work, and spending more time with my family, but my wife is certainly happy I’ve decided to play on for another year!”
No decisions have been made on the defender's Sunderland future, with Chris Coleman saying that all senior contract talks are on hold until the end of the season.
O'Shea is happy with that plan and insists he is focused purely on the relegation fight.
He said: “First and foremost, I’m concentrating on helping the team between now and the end of the season – that’s the big thing, that’s the only thing.
“Perhaps I didn’t expect to play as much as I have this season, but I know I’m capable of playing week in, week out and I want to help the team so I’m ready whenever called upon.
“When the team does well, we all do well as a club, and that’s something I’ve taken with me throughout my career, and will continue to do so.
“We have eight games remaining this season and eight opportunities to pick up the points we need to get ourselves out of trouble.
“After that we can sit down and talk about my future, and whether I’m playing here or somewhere else next season.
“But, as has always been the case throughout my career, the club, and what is best for it, has to come first at all times.”