Ferguson lauds John O’Shea following UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg

Ferguson lauds John O’Shea following UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg

Republic of Ireland defender John O’Shea provided the vital goal for Manchester United on Wednesday night to give them a first-leg advantage over Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League semi-final. United manager Alex Ferguson paid tribute to the match-winner.
30th Apr 2009
John O'Shea’s half-volley finish in the 17th minute proved the difference between Manchester United and Arsenal in the first-leg of in the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Arsenal on Wednesday.

The Republic of Ireland defender brought Old Trafford to its feet with the solitary strike and United manager Alex Ferguson was fulsome in his praise for O’Shea, who also celebrates his 28th birthday today.

He said: “John is one of the great professionals of our time. The boy never complains and is happy to play anywhere. He has not always been the number one choice but he produces 30 performances a season which we’re grateful for.

“He plays left-back, right-back, centre-back and midfield. He is so versatile. This season he has not missed many games because of the injuries we have had. And if you ask me now if we get to the final will he be in the team, I would say yes.”

Steering the Red Devils to the final in Rome would cap a fantastic campaign for Waterford man, an ever-present in Ireland’s 2010 World Cup qualifiers so far.

O’Shea was part of United’s squad that lifted the European trophy last May in Rome but was remained on the bench during the final. Should they make it past Arsenal in next Tuesday’s second-leg at the Emirates Stadium, the Irishman is sure to be inspired by the promise from his manager of a starting place in this year's showpiece.