Sunderland captain John O’Shea has announced his retirement from international football.
After making 117 appearances for Republic of Ireland, the defender will end a 17-year career with the senior side when they host USA at the Aviva Stadium on 2 June.
The former Manchester United man his debut against Croatia in 2001 before going to play at two UEFA European Championships in 2012 and 2016.
In an open letter to the Ireland fans, O’Shea reflected on his decision while recalling his favourite moments in green.
“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,” he said.
“I always wanted to play as much as I could at senior level and to now have 117 caps has truly been an honour.”
He continued: “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.
“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 & 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.”