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John O’Shea recalls missing Man Utd team coach after Roy Keane “taught him a lesson”

Manchester United legend John O’Shea played nearly 400 games for the club in a 12-year spell – but his Old Trafford story began with an unfortunate coach journey

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Manchester United’s team coach once drove off without John O’Shea on it during the Irishman’s early days at the club.

The move was instigated by former skipper Roy Keane, trying to teach his young compatriot a lesson in his formative years.

The incident happened during the 1999-00 season, shortly after O’Shea signed his first professional contract at Old Trafford.

Although he wasn’t starting under Sir Alex Ferguson at this time, the versatile player was given the chance to train and travel with the first team squad.

Speaking to United’s website, O’Shea recalled: “I’ll always remember, one of the first times, I’d just moved house and I’d never left from the house to meet up at a hotel the night before [a game].

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John O’Shea won five Premier League titles at Manchester United


AFP/Getty Images)

“And we had to be at Old Trafford for say about half-six so I’m thinking I’ll leave at six, plenty of time, there’ll be no dramas.

“But obviously it’s Friday evening, there’s a bit more work traffic, a bit more whatever else.

“So, I’m starting to sweat a bit here but I’m thinking, thankfully, the manager [Sir Alex Ferguson] wasn’t going to be there, he was going to meet us at the hotel.

“So, I’m still barely in the first team, trying to put the foot down but staying in the speed limit of course so I can get there.

“Next thing, it’s like 6:28, I’m thinking this is getting close here. It’s like 6:30 and I’m pulling in type of thing and the bus is still there, pure relief.”

Keane and the senior professionals, though, wanted to teach O’Shea a lesson and ensure he wasn’t going to be late again in future.

And the lesson worked a dream as the youngster went on to play almost 400 games for the club in all competitions in a 12-year spell.

During that time, O’Shea won five Premier League titles, two League Cups, the FA Cup, the Club World Cup and the Champions League.

After leaving United in 2011, he went on to play more than 250 games for Sunderland and retire with 118 caps for the Republic of Ireland.

O’Shea added: “Next thing, I can see the bus moving and I’ve not parked the car yet, I’m nearly in. But then the bus is gone.

O’Shea played alongside Roy Keane in his early Man Utd days


Manchester United via Getty Images)

“So, I can see Roy and a few of the senior players and I’m thinking they’ve done me here.

“So, I’m panicking, thinking will I drive the car back? We were staying in Alderley Edge at the time, so I’m thinking what am I going to do here?

“Quick little panic and then I thought, right, I’ll leave the car here and get a taxi and I’ll still get to the hotel in time.

“Roy was teaching me a bit of a lesson there and, to be fair, it was my own fault. I should have known, prepared better, known the distance from the house.

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“The next day, I can’t remember who we were playing but Roy mentioned it to me again and I’m kind of like, ‘oh my god’.

“It was a lesson, my own fault and you hold your hands up kind of thing, but I was more worried about the bus and then the senior lads were like, ‘Ah, we’ll teach you a lesson, Sheasy.’

“That’s the way it was, it served me well. Those things, you have to be on top of.”

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