John O'Shea in a Manchester United shirt.

O'Shea excited to face United with Reading

Friday 04 January 2019 16:52

Former Manchester United defender John O’Shea is relishing his return to Old Trafford as the Reds face Reading in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup.

The 37-year old, speaking ahead of the game, joked of how he was inundated with texts when the draw was made in early December and outlined the task in hand for the Royals ahead of this weekend's tie.

“When the draw was made, my phone started buzzing, lots of messages were coming through,” he told MUTV. “Look, it's an amazing draw for Reading. Going up to Old Trafford at any stage is always special but going there with Reading will be special and we'll be hoping to cause a few problems.

“We know we'll be up against it, though,” he added. “We'll definitely be underdogs on the day, that's for sure, but that's what the FA Cup is all about.”

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The former United defender made just shy of 400 appearances for the Reds, scoring 15 goals over a 12-year spell. Some notable moments from his time at the club include a stunning chip at Highbury against Arsenal in 2005, a stoppage-time winner in front of The Kop at Anfield and even a brief stint in goal against Tottenham in 2007.

Incidentally, United caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was captain for the Reds when O'Shea made his debut for the club against Aston Villa in October 1999.

O’Shea admits that while he will be in the away dressing room, he is looking forward to showing his son around Old Trafford and is hopeful of a potential upset.

“It'll be special,” he said. “Hopefully, I'll be able to get my son to come up and watch the game. He wasn't born when I was at United, so it'll be great to get him up.

“I have amazing memories from my time at United, but we at Reading are hopeful of maybe causing an FA Cup shock along the way.”

After leaving United in the summer of 2011, the former Republic of Ireland international joined Sunderland, where he spent seven seasons at the Stadium of Light before joining Reading in the summer.

This season, the defender has made seven appearances for the Royals and has been in the starting line-up for their last two Championship fixtures against Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City under manager Jose Gomes.

Your essential guide to United v Reading


Get ready for the Reds' Emirates FA Cup third-round tie against the Royals at Old Trafford on Saturday.

With this weekend’s visitors currently mired in the bottom three of the Championship, five points from safety, O’Shea hopes that the FA Cup will serve as a welcome distraction from their struggles in the league.

“Obviously, United might make changes, give some youngsters a chance, you never know. Hopefully they give lots of youngsters a chance and we can cause that upset. 

“We've got lots of important league games coming up, so it's a nice distraction to be able go up to Old Trafford for the FA Cup, that's for sure.” 

Meanwhile, Sergio Romero expects O'Shea to receive a positive reception from the United fans, when he steps onto the Old Trafford turf on Saturday. The Argentinian said that any player that has give their all for the shirt should receive a strong welcome.

"Of course, John O’Shea will get a welcome back. He clearly deserves it," Romero said. "It's the same for all good players who put in 100 per cent performances time and time again at United. There is no other way and I would expect them to give him a warm welcome back, to give him something back after all he contributed to the club’s history.

"When a player gives 100 percent, they get it back from the fans."

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