Roar’s marathon man instrumental in revival
THE more possession Jay O'Shea has, the better it is for Brisbane Roar.
That's why O'Shea's likely occupation of a holding midfield role for the rest of the season following the departure of Jacob Pepper to Indonesian club Madura United is set to boost the Roar's A-League title hopes.
"I'm confident enough that I can play in that position and do well for the team," said the 31-year-old Irishman, who for most of his career has played either as an attacking midfielder or a winger.
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"I'm getting a little bit older now so dropping back, it's probably something that happens naturally to players as they get older.
"I'm happy enough to play there. I get a lot more of the ball.
"Wherever the Gaffer (coach Robbie Fowler) picks me I'm happy to play."
Not only is O'Shea the Roar's creative spark, he is also Brisbane's marathon man.
The former Birmingham City man is the only Roar squad member to have played every minute of Brisbane's 20 matches this season.
His constant presence has been crucial in the Roar's resurgence that has lifted them to fifth on the ladder ahead of Friday night's clash against cellar dwellers Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium.
"We were a bit slow getting the results … but we weren't getting the results we deserved," O'Shea said.
"In football, it's a results business, and we needed to change that.
"Even though we were playing well we needed to start getting results.
"You can see now the work that (technical director) Tony Grant and the Gaffer (Fowler) have put in on the training ground is starting to pay off."
Much to his relief, O'Shea has also scored his first A-League goal, a penalty in the Roar's 3-1 home win over Western Sydney Wanderers last Friday.
Having found the back of the net 15 times last season in England's League Two for Bury, O'Shea had been itching to score for the Roar.
"It's been frustrating on that side of things, not scoring goals," he said.
The Roar's first-choice penalty taker following the departure of Roy O'Donovan in January, O'Shea paid tribute to Scott McDonald for not asking to take the second-half spot kick against the Wanderers to complete a hat-trick after scoring Brisbane's first two goals.
"The game wasn't won at that stage so I don't think he was thinking about himself. He was more for the team and that just shows what type of player he is and what type of lad he is," O'Shea said of the former Socceroos marksman.
"It was very unselfish from him. I was confident to go and stick it away."