Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has challenged the younger members of his squad to learn from John O’Shea as the defender prepares to bring the curtain down on his international career.
The 37-year-old will make his 118th and final appearance for his country against the United States at the Aviva Stadium this evening.
O’Shea is the last player of his generation to hang up his boots with the likes of Robbie Keane, Shay Given and Damien Duff all having retired ahead of him.
We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
O’Neill is hoping that the younger players within the Ireland set-up can emulate what O’Shea achieved for Ireland and admits that both he and the players will miss his pressence.
"I think his career speaks for itself," the Irish boss said. "He’s played for a top club, one of the best in the world and he’s played here so many times and he’s been terrific.
"So we will miss him, we’ll miss his influence around the place, that sort of calming influence. He’s been terrific in the camp."
"I’ve have the experience of John and the later stages of Robbie Keane’s career and those two lads have played a long, lone time for their country.
"I think it’s for other players to pick it up and learn some things from those other players and really kick on."
O’Neill added that O’Shea’s willingness to continue his career following Euro 2016 was a major boost for him personally and praised the veteran for making himself available, despite seeing his playing time reduced.
"I know people shower praise on someone who is just about to leave, but he has been a great influence," he said.
"Even though just in recent times he would have less chance of playing with other players younger than he being in the side, to have him around and for him not to retire just after the Euros was particularly great for myself.
"I wanted him around at the time and his influence is there for all to see. I think that Seamus Coleman would have learned a lot from John.
Perhaps the only thing missing from O’Shea’s record for Ireland is goals, with the defender scoring just three times in his international career.
However one of those three goals came against Germany in Gelsenkirchen, earning Ireland a 1-1 draw and helping them eventually book their place in the European Championships.
O’Neill couldn’t resist poking fun at O’Shea’s goal record and said: "He has that fantastic record of three goals, considering the amount of times he went up for corner kicks. I used to tell him 'Don't go up, John. Don't bother'."