Sunderland’s O’Shea: England should face Irish more often

Republic of Ireland's John O'Shea
Republic of Ireland's John O'Shea

SUNDERLAND and Republic of Ireland vice-captain John O’Shea says he is delighted with way his countrymen performed against England at Wembley this week.

The midweek match was the first time the two sides had met since the abandoned match of 1995 when Niall Quinn scored and the score stood at 1-1 before pre-orchestrated violence forced it to be called off.

On Wednesday this week, the two teams again played out a 1-1 but this time in peaceful conditions and with the Irish having shown their worth in a competitive match, O’Shea believes the sides should face each other more regularly from now on.

“I think the games should happen every couple of years because we’re neighbours,” he said.

“The atmosphere between the fans was fantastic.

“There are fantastic memories growing up from watching Ireland v England games.

“And young lads around Ireland will get inspiration from watching this week’s game.

“The fans gave us fantastic support and it wasn’t a celebration from us at the end because we had got the result.

“We just wanted to show that we appreciate them travelling over to support us.”

O’Shea didn’t feel celebrations were necessary because he believes that in the current era, the Republic don’t have to see themselves as complete underdogs in this fixture.

And while he was quick to acknowledge the danger England can present, especially on home turf, he felt the Irish gave a great account of themselves.

“We’re very pleased,” he admitted.

“But we had a few chances to counter-attack better than we did and we need to improve on that.

“England dominated possession and they were pushing high up the pitch and with Shane Long in behind, we could have taken advantage of that a bit better.

“We had one or two chances especially when England were pushed up to the half-way line and we won the ball back.

“We had a few nice passes but the final pass let us down.

“That was a bit disappointing but, overall, we were very pleased.

“You know when you come to Wembley with the passes they have, the threats in behind they have and the likes of Michael Carrick and Frank Lampard playing balls when they’re not even looking in that direction.

“We were fully aware of the threat that they had.

“We dealt with it quite well. It was just unfortunate that they scored shortly after we’d scored.”