McShane announces playing retirement

Friday 27 May 2022 12:00

Paul McShane's long playing career has come to its conclusion, with the former Republic of Ireland defender announcing his retirement today.

The 36-year-old will now continue his work as a Manchester United Academy coach in the Professional Development Phase (Under-18 to Under-23).

McShane initially joined our Academy as a teenager in 2002, travelling over from Ireland, where he’d played for St. Joseph’s Boys in south Dublin.

After four years at the club, during which he was part of our 2003 FA Youth Cup-winning side, McShane left on a permanent deal to West Bromwich Albion in 2006. He went on to make 369 league appearances, almost 100 of which were in the Premier League, with Sunderland and Hull City. He also represented the Republic of Ireland on 33 occasions.

Retiring McShane reflects on 20-year career Video

Retiring McShane reflects on 20-year career

Irish defender Paul McShane is calling time on his playing career, and explains his new role at United...

In 2021, McShane rejoined United as a playing coach in the Academy. His role was a unique one and over the last season, he has driven daily training standards from within sessions, providing high-level competition for the Academy’s talented forward players and coaching defenders in the Under-15 to Under-23 age groups.

The Irish centre-back's alternative coaching perspective, formed by playing in sessions and games, has been a great source of insight for the Academy.

Reflecting on a fantastic playing career and this decision, McShane said:

“I’m calling it a day playing now. I’ve had 20 years playing and I’ve come back into the club as a player-coach in the Under-23s. It’s been a great year and great experience but now it’s time to fully focus on the next stage of my career, which will be in coaching.

"It’s amazing how things work out. It’s a great way to end my career, to come back here and help the future generation with their careers. It was perfect, to be honest with you, when this role came about, and I’m grateful to the people who made it happen. I think it’s a great way to end my playing days.

"I am [proud]. Sometimes when you’re on the journey itself, you can get lost in it. It’s a career where there’s lots of ups and downs and there’s so many challenges, but now, I think I can look back and have fond memories of different stages of my career.

McShane's successful playing career began at United, where he won the 2003 FA Youth Cup.

"I was just a young lad from County Wicklow in Ireland. I think my dream at the start was to play for St Joseph’s Boys, which was a Dublin team, because around my area, if you played for that team, you were known as a decent footballer, so that was the start of my dream. When I got there, my dream grew bigger and bigger and I look back at some of the games I’ve played in and I’ve played against the best players in the world and played with many great players as well. Being here at Man United and now finishing with Man United as a player-coach, it’s been a hell of a journey. I’m grateful for it.

"There’s a few stand-out moments. It’s hard to pinpoint one that was my favourite. Just having a football career, firstly. I look back at the challenges that I faced and having the ability to keep going, looking back I was quite mentally strong, I think I always picked myself up from disappointments.

"[If I was to pick] moments, I'd say my Irish debut, representing my country in every game that I played in, my Premier League debut, getting promoted with Hull on the last day, captaining Reading, the FA Cup final. It’s been great, and over the next week or two, maybe I can look back and appreciate what I’ve been through over the past 20 years.

"I’ll be working alongside the coaches in the PDP [Professional Development Phase]. It’s great for me to see up and down the age groups. It’s sort of what I’ve had this year but I can fully dive into that now, now I don’t have one eye on playing. I just want to try and help the players as much as I can."

Congratulations, Paul, on a fantastic, varied, long and successful career!