Sunderland & Ireland star John O'Shea hopes absence will not hurt Euro 2016 chances
John O'Shea hopes finding himself on the Sunderland sidelines will not hamper his Euro 2016 hopes.
The central defender will tonight earn his 111th Republic of Ireland cap when steps out at the Aviva Stadium against the Netherlands.
O’Shea has been a mainstay in Martin O’Neill’s Irish team and he will almost certainly be a key figure in France this summer.
But the 35-year-old found himself out of the Black Cats side after suffering an injury.
Younes Kaboul and Lamine Kone formed a highly-effective partnership at the back as Sunderland fought a successful battle in their Premier League relegation fight, meaning the former Man United star was restricted to a bench role.
Asked at a Republic of Ireland media conference if he was worried that his recent lack of game time might affect his Euro chances, he replied: “I hope not.
“It’s one of those things: when I picked up the knock the lads got in and did their stuff and thankfully we stayed in the Premier League.
“Fitness, thankfully, has never been too much of a problem for me throughout my career.
“Obviously, when you are not in the team, you are doing extra work to stay on top of things.
“But look, I have played plenty of games throughout my career for club and country, (enough) to know that I’ll be ready if needed and when called upon.”
O’Shea hopes the Republic can carry their “momentum” into tonight’s game against the Dutch in Dublin and beyond.
“The big thing is to make sure everyone really enjoys these two games coming up, put in a good performance if possible and keep the positive feeling going,” he said on the Irish Examiner.
“It’s a major tournament, these are very exciting times and everyone wants to be a part of it.
“The momentum is definitely building.”