Important season for Sunderland’s old heads, says O’Shea

John O'Shea
John O'Shea
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JOHN O’SHEA realises the role Sunderland’s old heads have in integrating the club’s new signings into the fold.

Paolo Di Canio has brought eight players to the Stadium of Light so far this summer, with the Black Cats head coach hoping for another three recruits – two full-backs and a creative midfielder.

Only two of the fresh faces have plied their trade in the Premier League before – Jozy Altidore and Vito Mannone – with players arriving from the Italian, Swiss, Portugese and French leagues.

And O’Shea, 32, says there is a burden of responsibility on the likes of himself and fellow former Manchester United defender Wes Brown, 33, to ensure the new boys correspond to Di Canio’s blueprint.

“Obviously it helps having that experience when you’re blooding in new players because you’ve been there and done it,” O’Shea told the Echo.

“Whatever the decision the manager makes, we’ll get 100 per cent behind it and make sure it’s for the benefit of the team.

“At the end of the day, that’s what everyone is looking for from the squad.

“If a manager picks a certain team for certain games, everyone gets behind it. It’s not just for the benefit of one or two games.

“Wes has been fit now for the whole of pre-season and that has been a real, real boost for us.

“He’s a special player and fingers crossed he stays fit, because he would be like a new signing and a very valuable one at that.”

O’Shea saw multi-million pound overseas recruits both thrive and nose-dive during the decade he spent at Old Trafford.

And the Republic of Ireland international believes dedication on the training ground is the key factor for those who make the grade in the Premier League.

“You’ve got to be willing to be put in the hard work when you’re coming from overseas to realise the ambition of playing in one of the best leagues in the world,” added O’Shea.

“You have to have the ambition to improve yourself and show yourself to your own fans and the Premier League as well that you’re capable of playing in this league.

“To be fair, all the lads who’ve come in have shown a great attitude.

“They really have the hunger to do well.

“Let’s see how they settle in.

“Some of the young lads will maybe be away from home for the first time, but the North East is not so bad! It’s a friendly place.”