Sunderland skipper calls time on Republic of Ireland career
Sunderland skipper John O'Shea has announced he is calling time on his international career with the Republic of Ireland.
The 37-year-old has represented his country for 17 years at senior level and his final game for his country will be a friendly against the USA at the Aviva Stadium on June 2.
O'Shea, out of contract at the Stadium of Light this summer, is expected to carry on playing club football after confirming earlier this year he had no plans to retire completely.
In an open letter to Ireland fans, O'Shea wrote: "After 22 years of representing my country (17 at senior level) it is with great sadness & joy that I will be pulling on the Republic of Ireland jersey for the last time on the 2nd of June in the Aviva Stadium.
"It has been an amazing journey but I feel now is the right time to step aside for the next generation to enjoy the experiences I am so humbled to have been part of.
"I always wanted to play as much as I could at senior level and to now have 117 caps has truly been an honour.
"There have been many highlights, such as leading Ireland out as captain, featuring at two UEFA European Championships, and getting to share a pitch alongside so many committed and talented players over the years.
"It is a similar sentiment with regard to my managers at international level – Mick McCarthy, Brian Kerr, Steve Staunton, Don Givens, Giovanni Trapattoni, Noel King, and Martin O’Neill, they placed their trust in me and I hope that I paid them back in a small way by always giving everything on the pitch.
"I would also like to acknowledge the support I have always received from Sunderland and, prior to that, Manchester United, in particular, Sir Alex Ferguson who is in my thoughts at the moment - get well soon Boss! "
Read his full open letter here:O'Shea, who thanked his family, friends an former teammates and coaches, added: "I’ve never taken anything in life for granted and the passing in the last year of my Dad, Jim, and my friend & team-mate Liam Miller has shown me that every moment in life (not just football) should be cherished.
"I have certainly cherished my international career, it will be emotional walking out for the final time in front of the Ireland supporters. But it is now time to say thank you and allow others to lead the team forward, it’s been an amazing honour to wear our green shirt."