Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has praised his captain John O’Shea ahead of the Saturday’s trip to Southampton, and believes his leadership qualities come from his time spent at Manchester United.
O'Shea was the Republic of Ireland's hero in their midweek Euro 2016 qualifier against Germany, scoring a late equaliser in his 100th appearance to earn the visitors a 1-1 draw, before returning to Wearside to sign a two-year contract extension.
The 33-year-old was appointed skipper by Poyet’s predecessor Paolo Di Canio, but his current boss cannot speak highly enough of the defender’s influential presence, which he insists was moulded during his 12 seasons spent playing alongside numerous legendary figures at Old Trafford.
‘It's the whole thing, definitely the influence of Manchester United because he was there playing with top players, and I am sure he took things from different characters,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘He cannot imitate - he cannot be his previous captain, Roy Keane - but he can imitate other ones. It's just to learn and put what you are into the job. He does it naturally, I can tell you, there are no issues.
‘He's always there, he's always on time, he is always fit - or most of the time - he looks after himself, he represents the club well, the players. That's why he is the captain.
‘You have different types of captain at different clubs, sometimes because of how good they are and they have to be the captain, sometimes because they lead by example, sometimes because they have even better, the package he's got, he represents us on the pitch.
‘He's a very good link between the staff and the players on the pitch. He knows what we want, he understands - it doesn't mean he agrees, but he understands, and that's important for us because he knows most of the time what we need.’
O'Shea made a total of 393 appearances for United from 1999 to 2011, winning five league titles, the FA Cup, three League Cups and the Champions League and Club World Cup in 2008, before moving on the Sunderland.
He has since become a core part of the lineup at the Stadium of Light alongside former Red Devils teammate Wes Brown, with his recent performances prompting the club to extend his stay in the north east.