John O'Shea: Ireland players 'gutted' for injured Newcastle keeper

Sunderland skipper John O'Shea says the Republic of Ireland's players were left "gutted" for Rob Elliot after the Newcastle keeper's season-ending knee injury.

Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 12:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 12:36 pm
Rob Elliot

The survival hopes of Sunderland's relegation rivals Newcastle took a blow last night after Elliot suffered knee ligament damage during Ireland's 2-2 friendly draw against Slovakia.

Elliot - who has arguably been Newcastle's top performer this season - faces six-months on the sidelines, with first-choice Magpies keeper Tim Krul already on the treatment table.

That leaves youngster Karl Darlow in goal for the relegation run-in, with Newcastle facing a crunch clash against fellow relegation contenders Norwich City on Saturday.

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But from an international point of view, Elliot's injury is also a big blow for Ireland after the 29-year-old had been in contention to start in the summer's European Championships.

"Obviously you're a little bit worried when you see the stretcher come on and you speak to him and he says it's his knee," said O'Shea.

"It's hugely disappointing personally for him.

"We're a tight unit and we're gutted for him."

O'Shea is due to return to training at the Academy of Light tomorrow, as Sunderland's international players reunite after the two-break from Premier League action.

Keeping Sunderland in the Premier League is O'Shea's priority now after the final get-together for the Ireland squad before the Euro's.

"We've got to go back and focus on our club duties now," added the centre-half, who could return to the starting XI for Saturday's crunch clash against West Brom if Younes Kaboul is ruled out.

"Of course, we would have liked to have gotten the win (against Slovakia) but we’ve remained unbeaten.

"Also, a lot of other lads got a game and a chance of impressing the manager."