O'Shea determined to fight for place at United

May 27, 2008

Manchester United defender John O'Shea is determined to fight for his place at Old Trafford after playing his part in this season's double triumph.

The 27-year-old Republic of Ireland international added a Champions League winners' medal to his third Premier League success in Moscow last Wednesday.

O'Shea was one of the 18 men who were in the matchday squad for the dramatic showdown with Chelsea, but although he came within seconds of being introduced as a late substitute, he did not make it on to the pitch.

However, he knows the quality within Sir Alex Ferguson's squad as well as anyone, and while he is desperate to win regular place in the starting line-up - around half of his appearances this season came from the bench - he is not looking for a new challenge just yet.

O'Shea said: 'You just have to get on with it. The club has so many players and in the build up to the final, he [Ferguson] had every player fit. He said it was funny how this happens and said he wished that we could play European Cup finals every week!

'It's a hell of a squad when everybody is fit. That's what he wants and that's what he felt let us down in years gone by when he had to keep picking the same players towards the latter stages.

'Tiredness played its part in major games, but there was a freshness there this year, and you can see the rewards there now with two major trophies.'

Asked about his own future, he replied: 'That [leaving] is crossing my mind a lot of the time, but then I think `where do you go when you leave a team like that?'

'That's an even bigger question. For the time being, I will stay where I am.'

O'Shea enjoyed a couple of days of celebrations before joining up with his Ireland team-mates ahead of Saturday's friendly against Serbia, in which he took no part.

He will hope to be handed a role at Craven Cottage on Thursday evening when Colombia provide the opposition as he attempts to impress new international boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

However, the 69-year-old Italian has already made an impression on him.

O'Shea said: 'He has so much desire and enthusiasm. When we were doing press ups and sit ups this morning, he was doing it with us. It's incredible, and you see his passion in his team talks. He sees the little things, has the experience and he is not fazed by anything.

'He knows what is required for our squad and team to qualify, you can see that already. You can see that he really believes, and that is rubbing off on the players.

'It's all about getting to South Africa. A good few of the lads have tasted major tournaments with Ireland, but I have not yet done that.

'That's something I am very hungry to do. We got very close the last few times, but a few little details in games let us down. We have go to ensure we cut them out.

'It's a tough group, but a group we can qualify from, and that is what we must believe.'