Even though it’s still early in the summer, Reading have been quite busy in the transfer market. The Royals have already confirmed the signings of Andy Yiadom, David Meyler and John O’Shea. But out of the lot, only O’Shea’s name appears to stand out for numerous reasons.
The arrival of the veteran defender, who played his last international match for Ireland earlier this month, could raise some eyebrows. At 37, it’s obvious he’s heading towards the end of his career. Yet, it seems like a great piece of business for the London side. Here’s why.
First and foremost, O’Shea brings an amazing level of experience to his new team. The Irishman has won numerous trophies during his career so far, including 5 Premier League titles with Manchester United, one FA Cup and one Champions League. Even though he suffered back-to-back relegations with Sunderland, he remains a top player with proven qualities.
His leadership skills are not to be ignored. He captained the Black Cats and did everything in his power to save the club from relegation. He’s also represented his country 118 times – and only Robbie Keane and Shay Given have played more matches for Ireland.
Even at this age, O’Shea remains unbelievably fit. Over the course of the last season alone, he played 40 times which is impressive, to say the least.
Another element which could make O’Shea vital for his new team is his versatility. In his early days at United, he played as a full-back and as a central defender. Additionally, there have also been times when he was used in the midfield as well.
Last season, he featured mainly in the heart of the Sunderland defence alongside Kone, but the Madejski faithful will be happy to know he can fill in holes if called upon.
Reading certainly need all hands on deck. In the 2017/18 season, they finished 3 points above the relegation zone. Their defensive record was quite poor as they went on to concede 70 goals. Only Burton, Sunderland, Bolton and Barnsley conceded more, and three of those four went down.
The Royals will also need attacking reinforcements as well, having averaged just over a goal per game last season. But there’s a reason for optimism amongst the fans, with Clement bringing in some quality signings so far. The biggest star until now? John O’Shea, without a doubt.