John O'Shea: Defender to end international career with Republic of Ireland

O'Shea's 93rd minute equaliser against Germany helped the Republic qualify for Euro2016
O'Shea's 93rd minute equaliser against Germany helped the Republic qualify for Euro2016

Republic of Ireland defender John O'Shea will retire from international football at the end of the season.

The Sunderland player says the friendly against the United States on 2 June in Dublin will be his final appearance.

He has won 117 senior caps since his debut against Croatia in 2001.

It has been an amazing journey but I feel now is the right time to step aside for the next generation to enjoy the experiences I am so humbled to have been part of," said O'Shea.

The County Waterford native is the Republic's third most-capped player, behind Robbie Keane and Shay Given, and is one of only six men to win 100 caps for his country.

O'Shea made his international debut against Croatia in August 2001
O'Shea made his international debut against Croatia in August 2001

In an open letter to supporters, the former Manchester United defender said it had been an honour to have captained the side at senior level.

"There have been many highlights, such as leading Ireland out as captain, featuring at two UEFA European Championships, and getting to share a pitch alongside so many committed and talented players over the years.

"It is a similar sentiment with regard to my managers at international level - Mick McCarthy, Brian Kerr, Steve Staunton, Don Givens, Giovanni Trapattoni, Noel King, and Martin O'Neill, they placed their trust in me and I hope that I paid them back in a small way by always giving everything on the pitch," he added.

O'Shea also played under Martin O'Neill at Sunderland
O'Shea also played under Martin O'Neill at Sunderland

O'Neill paid tribute to the defender, who played a vital role in helping the team to qualify for the 2016 European Championships.

"John has had a great career internationally and played at the very top at club level with Manchester United, where he won a lot of trophies," said the Republic of Ireland manager.

"For any player to get over 100 caps is a magnificent feat and he can be very proud of that achievement.

I will always remember John's goal away to Germany in Gelsenkirchen. He doesn't score too many goals so that made it even more special.

"I wish John the very best for the future and I'm sure he will become an excellent coach. And if he wants to I'm sure he has the capabilities of becoming a manager too."

Get well soon Boss!

In an emotional open letter, O'Shea also reflected on his successful club career, which has seen him win five Premier League titles, a Champions League, an FA Cup, a Club World Cup and three League Cups.

O'Shea won five Premier League titles during 12 seasons at Manchester United
O'Shea won five Premier League titles during 12 seasons at Manchester United

"I would also like to acknowledge the support I have always received from Sunderland and, prior to that, Manchester United, in particular, Sir Alex Ferguson who is in my thoughts at the moment - get well soon Boss!

I've never taken anything in life for granted and the passing in the last year of my dad, Jim, and my friend and team-mate Liam Miller has shown me that every moment in life (not just football) should be cherished.

"I have certainly cherished my international career, it will be emotional walking out for the final time in front of the Ireland supporters. But it is now time to say thank you and allow others to lead the team forward, it's been an amazing honour to wear our green shirt."

The Republic of Ireland play France in a friendly at Stade de France, Paris on 28 May before they host USA at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on 2 June.