John O’Shea insists playing for the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016 will not feel the same if Sunderland are relegated in May.
The 34-year-old was part of the Ireland squad that finished third in their group before going on to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina over two legs in a play-off to book their spot in France.
Martin O’Neill’s side will join England, Wales and Northern Ireland in next year’s showpiece event, with a whole host of Premier League players set to grace the competition.
But it remains to be seen whether or not O’Shea will still ply his trade in England’s top division when the dust settles on the European championships and the new domestic season gets under way next August.
The Black Cats may have beaten Crystal Palace 1-0 on Monday night and are now just one point behind north-east rivals Newcastle, but there is still a long way to go and much work to be done if they are to stave off the threat of relegation.
And the former Manchester United stopper feels dropping into the Championship and having that in the back of his mind will take the gloss of playing in the prestigious tournament.
“I want to go the Euros having had a good season with Sunderland staying up,” said O’Shea. “We’ve managed to do it the last few years and hopefully we can do it again.”
The Wearsiders are next in action at home to Mark Hughes’ Stoke City on Saturday, November 28 and are on offer at 3.10 to take all three points with the in-form Potters priced at 2.55 to leave the Stadium of Light with the spoils.