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Blessed To Have O’Shea… Really?

One of the reasons Manchester United can afford to splash the cash in the transfer market is because so much of our squad cost us absolutely nothing.

Of the 26 players who have represented us in the Premiership this season, 11 came from our youth system. 6 of them have been playing for our Reserves in the past two seasons. Whilst few players have held down a starting XI place since the likes of Beckham and Scholes, all players have an important role to play. Without squad players, there would be no trophies in the cabinet. The players who fill in when the first team players are injured or suspended, or who come on to give the first XI a rest when they need one. Then every now and again, they pop up and make a match-saving tackle or a match-winning goal.

John O’Shea is one of these players and Sir Alex Ferguson and today claimed that we are “blessed” to have him.

“I feel blessed that we have players like John O’Shea, who has stepped in to play out of his skin,” said Ferguson. “John has thrived on playing regularly and I’m sure that if I asked him to play at centre-forward he would get us a goal. It’s great to have such adaptable players and it’s one of our strengths as we enter the last lap of the title race.”

Whilst I’ll always look upon O’Shea fondly, I’m having a harder time supporting him this season than I have in the past. With the quality of our squad increasing every season, O’Shea seems to get left further and further behind. He stands out as a player who is just not up to scratch.

Saying that, he has been playing right-back for most of his opportunities this season, which is a position he isn’t that familiar with, after usually being used down the other flank or in the centre of midfield. As fourth choice, which is what he is behind Neville, Brown and Rafael, he hasn’t been dreadful. Can you imagine the standard of a fourth choice right back at any club in this country?

Regardless, he needs to book his ideas up a bit this season because he won’t get a look in when the others return from injury otherwise!

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Chris20LEGEND says:

    he should go back to waterford and play gaelic football, might score a few points for them!

  2. daveob82 says:

    “jack of all trades master of none” comes to mind

  3. Bob Koh says:

    I’ve always looked at O’Shea positively. He’s a much needed ‘handy man’.
    He plays anywhere, even in goal too, remember?

  4. pbul2004 says:

    Totally useless…Rubbish…Diabolical! Not a manu player!

  5. theboy says:

    to think we let phil neville go. a much, much better untility man. but paddy did score a last minute winner, against the vermin, in front of the kop. and for that, i’ll always have a soft spot for him.

  6. costas says:

    SAF is doing the right thing for now guys.O’Shea will start against Fulham and if the 3 right backs don’t rehabilitate soon enough he could feature after the International break as well.He hasn’t been great but he hasn’t been Prunier either.ANd don’t forget that we don’t have a cover for Evra.I would say Fabio but SAF still has him on the Reserves.He scored a hat trick recently.

  7. Red Rooney says:

    a poor is no longer a poor when there are no riches.

  8. Phil says:

    i agree with SAF. He has been a loyal servant – the biggest shame is he didnt follow up on the promise of his first season. however, he would be welcome addition to any first team outside of the Big Four. i wouldnt swpa him for any other ‘utility player in the prem….can all those who slate him suggest a stronger alternative?? doubt it

    whilst it would be great to have a utility man with the skills of a £20M player it would be impossible to keep him satisfied. Hargreaves is very versitile – when he is fit and whilst we are on the subject i think
    a fit hargreaves next year could improve the midfield. lets hope he is back, his performances for england in recent years confirm his status as a £20M + midfielder.

  9. costas says:

    Agreed on Hargo.We have missed him as an option.

  10. Androo says:

    I only stand the look of him for his late winner against the bindippers but to be honest, I really really believe he is the cause of all our troubles. I cannot wait for Rafael or Brown to get fit. I LOVE Brown’s direct way of playing as well as Rafael’s attacking play but I like absolutely nothing about the Irish GP.

  11. Giles Oakley says:

    O’Shea is 4th choice, he’s out of position, but he’s an honest player who never hides, he keeps going, and does his best for the team, and right now we should back him to the hilt. Picking on him does nothing to help. Can’t you see what Fergie is trying to do? Of course we miss Hargreaves, and what wouldn’t I give to have Brown back, or Rafael flying up the flank, but they’re injured and we may not see them back for weeks. So let’s hear it for when Johnny comes marching in.

  12. costas says:

    Guys we have seen worst than O’Shea.He could have done what Phil Nevill did.Go to another club,play more regulary and find a position that would he would perfect on.Here he play 2-3 different positions each year and to be honest he is our 4th choice right back.And when the other 3 come back i am waiting to see on their fitness.Nev is always a doubt,Bron hasn’t started a game in 6 months and Rafael is still young.We could see more of O’Shea in the upcoming weeks.

  13. costas says:

    And to be honest,we know where John stands talent wise.I think certain others let us down far more than him on Saturday,

  14. ManU says:

    Sir Alex must be crazy to make such a statement about John Oshea whom he should sell off last season. He must be carrying a lot of balls just like Gary N to win his favour. Proven in every match he played you can simply sum up that he is the worst player MU ever had. He has no skills in ball distribution, no foresight,more prone giving away free kicks near the goal area and last of all he has got no pace to defend when counter attack by opponent. He is just a court jester to Sir Alex and not good enough to be in the team or even the reserved team.

  15. Phil says:

    yet more negative remarks about oshea!
    why dont some of the authors of such remarks make suggestion as to whome SAF should buy to replace him?
    can play anywhere in the back four and fill a void in midfield but ultimately be happy with a place on the bench….come on, put up or shut up!

    cant think of a suitable replacement myself and would rather the money put towards other targets in the summer


  16. Colbert says:

    I can’t wait for our injured players to come back. I don’t understand why, in the mean time, Fergie doesn’t have more faith in someone like Eckersley, the way he does with Evans. He’s looked composed at right back and he doesn’t give the ball away unlike O’Shea.

  17. wazza says:

    we have definitely missed Hargo this season.he wud have done a fantastic job at RB.we need Brown to be ready for the Villa game to deal wit ashley young.
    i feel Rafael, Gary & Sheasy cant deal wit him as much as Brown can

  18. costas says:

    Yeah but is that an opportune time for him to start a game for the first time in 6 months wazza?I think O’Shea might handle this as well.

  19. TuPeT says:

    I didn’t like O’Shea. I always thought that his is below average in our tear by far. But I can’t stop appreciating was the guy does. What a work horse that is, the guy has history with this club and is always ready to give 100% for us, even if it’s not what we expect the guy is there, and sometimes he manages to surprise us… Who can forget his goal against LiverFool at Anfield? Or denying Robbie Keane when taking VDS’ place in goal?
    That makes him have my respect, and be grateful to have a player loyal to the team that never worries about nothing but United.

    I see that if Hargreaves was fit he would be on the bench, but when Hargo’s not and our other 3 RB aren’t either, I like John even more.

    I see his situation harder that Gary faces with some kinds of suporters.

  20. King Eric says:

    Frankly some dreadful remarks on here from “United fans”. Get behind the lad for fuck sake. However, not too sure he would get us a goal if he played Centre Forward!!

  21. King Eric says:

    I like to think of Hargo as a midfield ball winner as opposed to a full back. A quality midfielder who we have missed at times this season.

  22. SULLY says:

    One of my mates told me “John O’shea is the only Championship-standard player playing in the Premier League” That does’nt necessarily mean I agree with him though!

  23. Tick says:

    These negative comments about O’Shea are disappointing. His ability to play almost any position when the need arises has been crucial to our success. He is a true professional.

  24. five says:

    John O’Shea loves the club, he’ll play anywhere you ask him too and give it his all. What the hell are people expecting from him at right back? He did pretty good deputising for Evra at left back(heck I’ll even say he was better then Evra is after Pat returned from injury).

    And I love how a plastic fan with the username ManU is slagging him off, the username sums him up. You are a true United fan if you learn to appreciate the likes of O’Shea,Fletcher,JS Park

  25. THEMRFOX says:

    nonononono … ‘Hip Hip O’Shea’ !!! … sure the lads not blessed with natural talent but as Robbie Keane said “I can’t under …” just kidding.

    No, of course O’Shea isn’t the most gifted player we have, but he is an international, has bags of experience and can be called upon to do a job in times of need. He and Fergie both know he’ll never make the first first eleven … but he’s there, not moaning about it, waiting his turn and ready to step in at a moment’s notice. Never in the papers for the wrong reasons, humble in approach … but confident in his ability to do a bit of work for our cause.

    People say this is not the best United team we’ve ever had … but it’s certainly the best squad! And it’s the likes of O’Shea, Fletcher and Brown that make it like that (for all the reasons above) with their first class attitude towards the game and our club. It’s their settled yet non-complaicant nature and pride for our badge that other newer additions need to look to (now and when Scholes and Giggs have gone) … for some pride and determination for the cause.

  26. toby says:

    For the last 3 seasons I’ve failed to understand why O’shea makes the team. Ok this season he’s in it because of injuries, but if our squad was fit, he’d struggle to make the bench.

    Every game there is always something he does that it seems no other man utd player would do. I think it was either on saturday or against inter, he had the ball facing his own goal just inside the penalty area, 3-4 yards from the touchline. He obviously meant to pass the ball back to VDS and he just kicked it out of play, nowhere near him.

    There have been countless other occasions where he’s done this and I’m not a fan of him. the sooner our 3 right backs get better, the better

  27. SteRDLK says:

    O’Shea is one of them players you have to love for his winner versus Liverpool, but at the same time you can’t stand seeing his name on the teamsheet. He is scared if the ball, can’t seem to pass and is very slow. The past two seasons his abilities have decreased.

    I think he might be gone in the summer though, with Hargreaves back, Fabio will be fully fit (hopefully) as will Neville, Brown and Rafael, and Eckersley MAY step up as his successor. Sheasy will probably move to Wigan or Newcastle, where he would suit their game more.

  28. OTRed says:

    Did you see how bad he played during the weekend? Fergie is NOT gonna let that Liverpool defeat kill the players mentally, don’t be surprised hearing him say things like this about the other players too. Its all a boost to give the players more mental strength.

    And yes to the usual O’Shea slaters, we’re lucky and blessed to have a player who is always ready to come off the bench and do his part. Its not easy to come off the bench and still do your job, just ask Nani.

  29. denton davey says:

    C’mon; John O’Shea is not a world-beater – even his supporters don’t deny that – but he is a useful guy to have.

    He is versatile and committed to the team. In a long, long season like the EPL/CL?/FACup/LeagueCup etc, it’s imperative to have “quality depth” and that’s just what John O’Shea provides “quality depth”. If he provided straight quality then he’d be a first-teamer, but he’s not that good so just appreciate him for what he does bring to the team.

  30. john ferry says:

    He plays on the left, he plays on the right, that boy O’Shea makes fringe players look shite.

  31. five says:

    Shit players dont make 51 appearances in a title winning season.

    Only 3 in the league cup too…2006/07 season.

  32. john ferry says:

    oops I meant “other teams fringe player look shite”

  33. suhayl says:

    OT red is spot on…yes he may not be our best player…and yes even 4th choice right back and he hasnt lived up to the potential of his first season. But he’s what we ve got at this moment until that day that the other 3 ever get fit. And SAF is saying that he is a very useful and honest player, whp will give it his all, no matter what the level of talent. He is there wherever whenever needed. Every team needs a JOS.

    And Remember guys SAF this week ESPECIALLY…will big up every fringe and fragile player mentally. Its called man management and psychologically lifting the players and dusting off any emotional or mental scars. Thats why he’s the best. Read between the lines.

    I also agree…HARGO is missed…as a midfield enforcer…we do miss a young world class midfielder in the centre. As i agree we may have the best strongest squad…but the dippers 11, arses 11 and chelski 11 are just as good a match as ours..if not a tad stronger esp in that centre mid dept.

    Anyway get behind our lads…every one of them needs the fans to rally behind them.

  34. Red-Manc says:

    He plays like a donkey, his first touch is terrible and his passing is awful, but he is a VERY important player to have in our squad he’s far from our best player but he gets the job done no matter what position he’s asked to play in. He’s scored one of two important goals aswell mind you, anfield comes to mind and one against everton that got us back on track to win the match.

    When Johnny goes marching down the wing O’shea O’shea!…..

    And I agree Hargreaves has been missed, he would of been very useful at the weekend and i think we’ve missed him on a few other occasions aswell, hope he makes a full recovery and is ready for next season!

  35. Z-Man says:

    i wouldnt say O’shea is a great player but he is ok. the best part with the man is that he can play in enny position and still do half a decent job for 45-90 min. If United were to get new players in every position the man can play, we would have a bigger problem with 10 more egoes and 10 more salaries to pay.

  36. theredDeviLs says:

    Hmmm,i think i have to agreeOTRed.John oshea is not the worst player we had..There are other more useless and worthless then him,etc djemba or even forlan..well,my opinion he has done a pretty good job for united and we should at least support him..

  37. cherry says:

    All of us were looking with great anticipation for Oshea’s fitness ahead of the Inter game away. It is just easy slating players like Oshea but we have worse players. I have no problem with Oshea hence shitty Nani is still pulling a United Shirt….eh he no one seem to want to talk about him….eh?

  38. dre says:

    authentic united fans should stand behind all their players, especially when that player’s heart is all for united. ive been to games where i hear the like of fletcher and sheasy gettin ribbed cos ‘theyre not up to standard’. so what? why dont u tossers pull on a top and try doing better. its fucked up the plastic band jumping glory hunters we have supporting our proud club. personally i rather we keep the loyal to death osheas than em fucked up god only knows wanks with twinky feet just itchin to ditch united. prawn sandwiches indeed.


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