Over 44,000 fans traveled to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to see the world’s most valuable sports franchise in action. Manchester United, valued at $1.84 billion in a recent report by Forbes magazine, defeated the Philadelphia Union 1-0 using a mix of regular starters and youth.
Most of the crowd was loyal to the Red Devils and came to see their stars that made the trip for the North American Tour. Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov, and Edwin van der Sar all made appearances for Man U, but it was defender John O’Shea who quietly gained the attention of fans.
O’Shea spent extra time with reporters, but more importantly signed autographs and had pictures taken with young fans. He didn’t do it for the fanfare, but as a goodwill gesture in a nation that has yet to fully embrace the beautiful game. O’Shea was also quick to praise United’s opponent for the night. “It has been obviously very impressive tonight in particular,” the Waterford, Republic of Ireland native commented. “I was impressed with a lot of their play. Physically they are definitely capable of playing at much higher levels.”
The Man U defender with over 350 appearances under his belt was quick to show optimism towards MLS and American soccer as a whole. “It is only a matter of time before the league gets better and better,” O’Shea declared. “I particularly watched America in the World Cup as well. You see the standard of players that they have. Lots of their outstanding players are in the MLS.”
When asked the ever popular question about coming to play in MLS later in his career, O’Shea replied, “I would like to come maybe one day, you never know. It’s just a big if as they say. I am very happy, very happy playing in England and playing with Manchester United. You can’t get much better than that.”
It is certain that O’Shea has wisdom beyond his 29 years. He has a great perspective on the game as a whole and is fully aware of what to expect in the 2010/11 season. He was able to provide a scouting report of their competition in the Premiership. “It’s going to be the same guys again. Manchester City, Liverpool are starting to sign some players again. Then you have obviously the reigning champions Chelsea. They are looking to improve their squad all the time. Arsenal, the younger players are getting more mature. It is definitely going to be so close again. We lost it last season by a point. Hopefully we can be on the other side of it this season.”
A player who has dedicated his entire career to the Red Devils, O’Shea knows what it will take to bring home the hardware at the end of the season. “Just the consistency in our team. It makes a huge benefit if you can keep the core of the team fit for the whole season. We had too many interruptions last season with injuries.”
The dedication and passion O’Shea shows for the game can also be found in his service to the Republic of Ireland National Team. He is a valuable member of the squad that is looking forward to the Euros and the 2014 World Cup. “We are definitely on the improve with the manager we have, Trapattoni. And the young players that he is trying to introduce into the team also. We played two friendly games at the end of last season. We beat Paraguay and we beat Algeria, obviously two teams that went to the World Cup. We used them as stepping stones obviously for the European qualifiers.”
“We have an easy game against Argentina,” O’Shea said jokingly. “In a friendly match to open up our new stadium, the Aviva Stadium in early August. That is going to be great preparation for the beginning of the qualifiers in September. We all know what happened in the qualifying for the last World Cup, how close we got.”
The player known as ‘Mr. Versatile’ by many in the Premiership was kind enough to offer his thoughts on the U.S. Men’s National Team as well. “They were very unlucky in the World Cup I thought. Obviously they topped the group, but they had a lot of decisions go against them too. They have lots of players now attracting a lot of the big clubs in Europe.” O’Shea sure knows a thing or two about bad luck as his Ireland squad was denied a trip to the World Cup by the controversial Thierry Henry handball.
You can understand why Concave Sports chose John O’Shea as the face of their brand. He is often described as a coach’s dream, a world-class player who cares about how the game is played and has given his all for his club and country.
O’Shea was proud to discuss his involvement in Concave Sports and their line of high tech, revolutionary football boots. “They are a young and up and coming company. They have a lot of obviously stiff competition. I am just hoping that I can play a part in them becoming more successful. I tested out the boots extensively before I wore them. Eventually decided they were good enough to put my name to them and to wear them. Everything has been great since.”
He was eager to point out what separates Concave from the competition. “They have to have a bit of a different edge to them. The protection that it is going to give and when you are striking the ball the power you can get from it. It’s definitely going to be a huge advantage.”
Concave Sports is lucky to have O’Shea leading the charge in the football boot market. You couldn’t pick a better person or player to be the name behind the brand.