John O’Shea was given a guard of honour in his last professional match.
The 38-year-old defender was introduced for the final minute of Reading’s scoreless draw with Birmingham, with both sets of players lining up to applaud the former Republic of Ireland on to the pitch.
There was little to play for in the game itself at the Madejski Stadium, with both sides safe from relegation.
It was a nice moment to end what has been a superb career at both club and international level.
O’Shea was a wonderful servant to Ireland, making 117 senior appearances for the Boys in Green before retiring from international duty last summer.
He amassed over 250 Manchester United appearances under Sir Alex Ferguson, winning five Premier League titles, four Community Shields, two League Cups, an FA Cup and a Champions League.
The Waterford native then spent seven seasons at Sunderland before joining Championship side Reading last summer.
O’Shea has been restricted to just eight first-team appearances for the Royals this season, but earned a warm send-off today, one which impressed Reading manager Jose Gomes.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” he said afterwards.
“For me, it meant a lot. The respect that was shown to John.
“He is a very intelligent person. He’s quiet, he doesn’t speak too much. But when he talks, everybody listens.
“All the players respect him a lot. He won everything – he had a fantastic career – and deserved it.
“The guard of honour was the players’ idea. All of them respect John a lot.”
— Marc Antony (@Marcgrovess) May 5, 2019
— Anthony Smith (@Smudgersport) May 5, 2019
Leader. Gentleman. Legend.
There’s only one John O’Shea! 👏 pic.twitter.com/YrgsBxeALR
— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) May 5, 2019