JOHN O’Shea is set to come straight back into Sunderland’s side to face West Brom this weekend, with Paolo Di Canio rubbishing any suggestion that grudges might be held after the skipper’s sending off at Crystal Palace.
The Republic of Ireland international was red-carded at Selhurst Park after mis-reading the bounce of the ball and conceding a penalty which changed the course of the game in the hosts favour – the Eagles eventually running out 3-1 winners.
Di Canio did not spare the skipper’s blushes in the wake of defeat – pointing out that O’Shea had also made a costly mistake in his previous game, conceding a needless free-kick from which Southampton equalised.
But the Italian has made it clear that O’Shea will remain one of the first names on his team-sheet.
He said: “I am entitled to criticise John for making mistakes but that does not mean I don’t rate him.
“He is my best player, he is my captain.
“I said what I felt about his performance when I was asked a direct question about him after the Palace game and I gave an honest answer.
“But it is crazy to think that all of a sudden his position is in question – I don’t change my opinion of him from one game to another – he remains a very good player.
“He has my respect.
“He misses a game because of the red card but for me it is not even a question that he might not be coming back into the team.
“And he’s a big part of my plans this season, he will be playing against Manchester United in the next few weeks when they come to the Stadium of Light because I see him as a big part of my first team.”