John O'Shea has dismissed retirement rumours, saying he will play on next season whether at Sunderland or elsewhere.
A media report had said that O'Shea was expected to call time on his football career in May, something the Sunderland captain was quick to contradict.
The Ireland international has already played more games this season than in either of the last two years and only midfielder George Honeyman has started more games for the Black Cats.
O'Shea is in line to make his 250th appearance for the club tomorrow against Derby County - a day which incidentally is his 37th birthday.
“I’m fit and well and you can see that by the amount of games I’ve played consecutively this season, especially over the festive period where I played five or six games in 10 days,” he told safc.com.
“When you retire from playing it’s a permanent retirement and there’s no going back, and whenever I speak to former pros or team-mates, they all say to play on for as long as you can.
“When I wake up in the morning my body still feels good – believe me, if it didn’t I’d be the first one to admit it and finish up.
“There’s plenty of things to look forward to when my playing career ends, from coaching and management to media and punditry work, and spending more time with my family, but my wife is certainly happy I’ve decided to play on for another year!”
With his one-year contract due to expire in the summer, O'Shea will consider talks with the club after their bid to climb away from bottom spot in the Championship.
“First and foremost, I’m concentrating on helping the team between now and the end of the season – that’s the big thing, that’s the only thing.
“Perhaps I didn’t expect to play as much as I have this season, but I know I’m capable of playing week in, week out and I want to help the team so I’m ready whenever called upon.
“When the team does well, we all do well as a club, and that’s something I’ve taken with me throughout my career, and will continue to do so.
“We have eight games remaining this season and eight opportunities to pick up the points we need to get ourselves out of trouble.
“After that we can sit down and talk about my future, and whether I’m playing here or somewhere else next season.
“But, as has always been the case throughout my career, the club, and what is best for it, has to come first at all times.”