JOHN O’SHEA has backed Craig Gardner to overcome his homesickness after experiencing similar problems when he upped sticks earlier in his career.
Substitute Gardner’s sublime 30-yard half-volley wrapped up victory for Sunderland in Saturday’s visit of Swansea City, to propel the Black Cats back into the top half of the Premier League table.
The 25-year-old has endured well-publicised difficulty in settling in the North East after his £5million summer move, with West Brom, Wolves and former club Birmingham City all interested in taking the Solihull-born man back to the West Midlands before the end of the transfer window.
But defender O’Shea (right), who struggled to adapt at Manchester United after moving from Waterford as a teenager, believes an iconic third goal of the season for Gardner can only help him feel wanted on Wearside.
O’Shea said: “What can you say about Craig’s strike? We’ve seen him do it week-in, week-out in training.
“We know he’s been feeling a little homesick, but goals like that will make it go away.
“I experienced it when I first moved across from Ireland. But it’s one of those things that you grow out of. Birmingham is not too far away, let’s be honest!
“Gards is a great lad and he’s doing fantastic in training, he never lets his head go down, even when it might be affecting him.
“You can see the technique he has and the way he strikes the ball is a major asset for us.”