Keane salutes great ‘leader’ O’Shea

first_img The 33-year-old Sunderland defender will become the sixth Irishman to reach three figures if he is selected to face Germany in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday evening, following in the footsteps of Keane, Shay Given, Kevin Kilbane, Steve Staunton and Damien Duff. Keane, who will make his 137th appearance in a green shirt if he gets the nod from manager Martin O’Neill, has watched O’Shea’s international career at close hand and has saluted his enduring quality on and off the pitch. Robbie Keane has paid tribute to a “proper leader” as Republic of Ireland team-mate John O’Shea prepares to win his 100th senior international cap. “The very fact that you have been picked by all those managers might suggest something.” O’Shea made his senior debut as a substitute against Croatia in August 2001 and has become a fixture in the team in recent years. He was part of the squad which qualified for the Euro 2012 finals via the play-offs, but performed poorly in Poland and the Ukraine, and that has made him all the more hungry to make it on to the big stage once again. The LA Galaxy striker said: “He wouldn’t have played for Manchester United for so long and won trophies if he wasn’t a good player. He’s been great for the country. To get 100 caps for your country is great. “He has been brilliant since he came in from the start, and he’s a big, big player. These are the games where people will be looking to the likes of John O’Shea and the experience that he has. “He has been brilliant on the field, but he has been off the field as well. In the dressing room and around the place, he has been great. “He talks and when he talks, he makes a lot of sense. Around the hotel, he is good with the younger players, he helps everyone who comes through. He is a proper leader.” O’Neill too was full of praise for a man who has become the mainstay of his defence which has lost stalwarts Richard Dunne and Kilbane in recent years. He said: “It’s a fantastic achievement, there’s no doubt. To play 100 times for your country is really terrific. If and when he reaches that milestone, that’s well done him. “There are five players who have done it – that might tell you, in the history of Irish football, that there are only five players who have managed to do that, that might tell you how difficult that is. “You have to have had a strong career, you have to go through certainly a fair length of time without injury, and I’m quite sure during the course of that time there would be a number of managers who might have a different approach to it. Press Associationlast_img

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