John O'Shea has his say on the Gareth Bale incident

Ireland defender discusses the tackle and his side of it

BY Raf Diallo 19:49 Monday 27 March 2017, 19:49 27 Mar 2017

Wales’ Gareth Bale is yellow carded for a high challenge on John O'Shea of Ireland ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Ireland defender John O'Shea says that he didn't initially realise how bad Gareth Bale's tackle on him was until he watched it again later on.

The 35 year old, who won't be involved in Tuesday night's friendly against Iceland as he has returned to his club Sunderland, was speaking to Off The Ball in the wake of Friday's 2018 World Cup qualifier draw with Wales.

He confirmed that he had "about five or six [stitches] deep inside and the four or five on the outside" on his leg as a result of the challenge although thankfully it was not as bad as it could have been.

And at first Bale's tackled didn't seem too bad to O'Shea.

"My instant reaction, I knew he'd caught me but obviously I've seen it back on the telly etc but initially I didn't think it was too bad. I knew he was late, don't get me wrong, but obviously when you see it back, it was a bad tackle and the referee deemed it a yellow. Another time it could have been a different colour," said the former Manchester United defender.  

Continuing he referenced the Neil Taylor challenge that left Ireland captain Seamus Coleman with a badly broken leg, "I was the lucky one. A minute later, we all know what happened."

Immediately after the tackle, Bale did appear to apologise to him and O'Shea said, "I'd be guessing if I was trying to remember what he did say to me, but it was along the lines of 'look, I didn't mean that.'"

Discussing the split second before the tackle, the Waterford native said: "Obviously I'd read the situation, that the ball was going to come in that way. It helped that I was clearing the ball, so my leg was lifting and was going up. My shin pad took a good bang as well."  

While he felt that the importance of the match and the familiarity of the two sets of players meant it was played in a very competitive manner, he felt there was no needle between the Irish and Welsh players.

O'Shea also backed Coleman to come back fitter and stronger than ever as he begins the recovery process after sustaining the broken leg.

The 35 year old admitted that he had contemplated retirement in the wake of Euro 2016 but is enjoying carrying on for another qualifying campaign, especially as he has never played at a World Cup before and may have a chance of doing so if all goes well.

Off The Ball

Newsletter

The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week