Bale could have bro­ken my leg, says O’Shea

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DUBLIN: Repub­lic of Ire­land vet­eran John O’Shea be­lieves he was for­tu­nate to avoid a bro­ken leg after be­ing fouled by Gareth Bale dur­ing his side’s bruis­ing World Cup qual­i­fier against Wales.

Ire­land cap­tain Sea­mus Cole­man sus­tained a sick­en­ing dou­ble leg break dur­ing Fri­day’s 0-0 draw in Dublin in an in­ci­dent that saw Welsh wing-back Neil Tay­lor sent off.

Bale had ear­lier es­caped with a yel­low card after catch­ing O’Shea high on the left leg as he slid in to at­tack Chris Gunter’s cross and the Sun­der­land de­fender re­vealed the in­jury had re­quired stitches.

“I’ve had plenty of stitches put in there. I was lucky con­sid­er­ing what has hap­pened to Sea­mus,” O’Shea told re­porters.

“On an­other night there could have been two red cards.

“I can’t re­mem­ber how many stitches it was. The doc­tor had to stick some in deep and a few dis­solv­able ones on top. Hope­fully it will heal quick.”

Hav­ing been booked, which rules him out of Wales’s trip to Ser­bia in June, Bale came per­ilously close to a sec­ond yel­low card after catch­ing James Mc­Clean with a high foot late in the game.

But man­ager Chris Cole­man de­fended the Real Madrid star’s chal­lenge on O’Shea.

“From where I was sit­ting, he had to go for the ball,” Cole­man said. “It’s a cross, he’s sprint­ing into the box, he’s got to try and at­tack the ball.”

O’Shea, 35, said the ri­valry be­tween Wales and Ire­land, Celtic cousins sep­a­rated by the Ir­ish Sea, meant the game was al­ways go­ing to be a feisty one.

“You ex­pect it, ob­vi­ously within rea­son,” said the for­mer Manch­ester United player.

“When you’re play­ing Eng­land, Scot­land or Wales, the games are go­ing to be like that. They are the games you want to be in­volved in and be a part of.”

He added: “As the op­po­si­tion man­ager, you’re go­ing to pro­tect your own play­ers.

“In a derby game you’re go­ing to ex­pect some tasty tack­les, but as I said, within rea­son. There’s no prob­lem get­ting a hard tackle, but if it’s late it’s a dif­fer­ent story.”

Asked if Bale’s chal­lenge had been late, O’Shea replied: “Maybe, but thank­fully I’m walk­ing away from it, which is no prob­lem.”

The Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Ire­land re­vealed on Satur­day that Sea­mus Cole­man had un­der­gone surgery after break­ing the tibia and fibula in his right leg.

“Hope­fully ev­ery­thing goes to plan and he comes back as strong as ever,” O’Shea said of the Ever­ton right-back.

“With the type of player he is, he’ll re­cover quickly and be back on that pitch as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Fri­day’s re­sult left Ire­land level on points with Group D lead­ers Ser­bia, four points above third­place Wales at the half­way point of the qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign. AFP

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