Not only did Sir Alex Ferguson's flexible friend form a crucial part of United’s great defensive wall in 2008/09, he also popped up with one or two important goals...
Start to finish: So often a cameo performer, O’Shea has revelled in his lead role this season. And while there wasn’t so much of Johnny marching down the wing, he was stopping wingers instead, the Waterford-born defender slotting seamlessly into the full-back positions. O’Shea certainly grasped any opportunities that came his way, but following the Reds’ record-breaking defensive run – in which O’Shea notched 13 appearances – he was putting together a watertight case for selection on his own merits.
In position: When Patrice Evra missed games through suspension and injury in the first half of the season, Red legend Gordon McQueen suggested he was hardly missed, such were O’Shea’s impressive displays. “He looks as if he’s been playing there all his days,” added Martin Buchan, and it was the same when he moved to the right.
Season highlight: O’Shea made his 200th league appearance in November, as the Reds beat the Blues 1-0 in the Manchester derby at Eastlands.
Vital contribution: Aston Villa’s attacking threat dwindled like a candle as the season progressed, but in