Dr. Bill O' Gorman, from WIT, speaking about this site on WLR

Thursday, August 20, 2009

John O' Shea: Captain Fantastic

Congratulations to John O' Shea. The Waterford man captained Manchester United in their first game of this season against Birmingham City. John O' Shea has the distinction of playing in every position for United, even in goal. It is this versitility that has made O' Shea such an important part of Alex Ferguson's squad.

Born in Waterford, Ireland, O'Shea signed professional forms with Manchester United at the age of 17. At the time he was attending De La Salle college . He made his professional debut in 1999 against Aston Villa at Villa Park in a 3–0 Football League Cup defeat.

On 4 February 2007, during league game against Tottenham Hotspur, O'Shea deputised for Edwin van der Sar in goal after the van der Sar was taken off the pitch for a broken nose, while Manchester United had already used all three substitutes. During this time he denied his Republic of Ireland teammate Robbie Keane a goal with a save a few minutes before full time. Following this incident, United fans chanted "Ireland's number one" in O'Shea's honour.

A month later he won over many United fans by scoring an injury time winner against Liverpool at Anfield for United in the league, having come on as a substitute for Wayne Rooney. This goal was important in United going on to regain the Premiership trophy for the 2006–07 season. He also rescued his team against Everton in one of the final games of the season, when he bundled the ball in the net after Everton goalkeeper Iain Turner fumbled a Ryan Giggs corner. United went on to win 4–2.

This was perhaps an even more decisive goal, as Bolton were drawing with Chelsea at the same time and defeat would have let Chelsea back into the title race. He scored another goal from close range, in a 2–1 defeat away to Portsmouth that season, this goal came during an injury hit part of the season, were O'Shea, as a versatile player, was required to play at full back. John O'Shea had a shooting accuracy of 100% and scored with 80% of his shots in the 2006–07 season.

During the 2007–08 season, Manchester United used O'Shea as an emergency striker due to injury problems. His use as a striker gave him the distinction of having played in every position for Manchester United. On 23 November 2007, John O'Shea extended his contract at Manchester United, to keep him at the club until 2012. Throughout the 2007-2008 season John O'Shea came off the bench several times and proved important as a utility player on the way to a European double. O'Shea captained his club for the first time, during a 2–0 home defeat to Coventry City in the League Cup Fourth Round.

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