Belfast Telegraph

I won’t give up on Republic of Ireland, says John O'Shea

His mantelpiece is weighed down with everything the club game could offer a player operating at the pinnacle of his profession.

His is not a mind burdened by the exigencies of the ludicrously exalted drama of the transfer window and the surfeit of shadowy dramatis personae lurking within the modern game's shadowy undergrowth.

John O'Shea is, it would seem, the man who has it all, his enviable roll call of honours a glowing testament to his durability and indispensable versatility within the most glittering franchise in world football.

But there remains a glaring omission on his otherwise stellar CV. Even with all their disappointments at club level, mates such as Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Damien Duff and Robbie Keane can gently tease that they have experienced something that he, regrettably, has not.

For an appearance at a major international soccer championship still eludes the 29-year-old Waterford native.

“Yeah, that's a huge disappointment,” he says ahead of the Republic’s Euro 2012 qualifier with Armenia on Friday.

“There's major jealously with all the lads in the team who have been to a major tournament. You feel that you've missed out on reaching the pinnacle of where international football is. That's definitely a disappointment but we're confident we can do it this time.”

Unlike some of his closest peers — Paul Scholes and Wes Brown to name but two club colleagues — premature retirement will not usher him off the scene, regardless of the Republic of Ireland’s success or otherwise in the forthcoming campaign.

By the time this campaign ends in late 2011, he will have eclipsed both the aforementioned United men in age terms. But, he stresses, never in terms of his desire to wear his national jersey.

“It's a simple factor but I don't see it ever being a problem for me, purely because I'll always be of the persuasion...well at the moment I'm saying this...no, I would very confident of Ireland retiring me rather than me retiring Ireland.”

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