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The Ireland and Black Cats centre-back is appreciative of his own good health as Paolo Di Canio's side finish off an often-trying campaign against Tottenham on Sunday

Sunderland centre-back John O'Shea is grateful for his lack of fitness worries, feeling "fresh" despite an often-gruelling season for the Black Cats.

Paolo Di Canio's side play Tottenham in their last game of the season on Sunday but have already secured survival at Wigan's expense, with consecutive 1-1 draws against Stoke City and Southampton proving sufficient to send the Latics down.

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O'Shea, often serving as captain in usual skipper Lee Cattermole's absences, has played in 33 of Sunderland's 37 league games this season and the 32-year-old admits that more physical conditioning is required at his age.

"Thankfully, the fitness has been very good this year, that's been the main thing," he told the Daily Mail. "You are maintaining everything off the pitch in terms of the work you do in the gym and the core work - especially when you are getting into your 30s rather than your 20s, it's definitely needed more.

"But also you know you are preparing yourself right and you can cope with it. Thankfully, I have never had the major injuries that can hold you back towards the latter end of your career. I feel very fresh."

Even once the Premier League action is concluded, O'Shea's season is far from over as the Republic of Ireland have an important World Cup qualifier against Faroe Islands looming large on the horizon, as well as friendlies against England and Spain.

"Most importantly, we have the qualification game against the Faroes but also there's the small matter of a friendly against England as well, and then there's Spain in New York after the qualifier, which is an interesting one," he continued, "but we will wait and see. We'll take one at a time."

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