The Republic of Ireland’s John O’Shea says he was lucky to avoid a serious injury after a Gareth Bale challenge in the World Cup qualifier against Wales.
Republic captain Seamus Coleman suffered a terrible double leg fracture in Friday’s game and O’Shea is relieved he didn’t also sustain a bad injury.
O’Shea, 35, played on but later had several stitches put into a shin wound.
“I was lucky considering happened to Seamus. On another night there could have been two red cards,” said O’Shea.
Asked if the Real Madrid star’s challenge had been late, O’Shea, who will now miss Tuesday’s friendly against Iceland, said: “Maybe, but thankfully I’m walking away from it, which is no problem.
“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 quickly.”
The Sunderland defender was caught high and late by Bale, who received a yellow card for the sliding challenge in the goalless draw at the Aviva Stadium.
Wales boss Coleman defends Bale
Wales boss Chris Coleman later launched a passionate defence of both Bale and Neil Taylor, who was sent off for his foul on Seamus Coleman, and O’Shea said he had “no problem” with physical challenges.
He said: “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.
“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.”
O’Shea was significantly more fortunate than Coleman, who faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on Saturday.
The Republic were disappointed not to have made their numerical advantage count during the final 20 minutes or so of the game as Serbia replaced them at the top of Group D on goal difference.
However given that they had gone into it without Robbie Brady, Shane Duffy, Ciaran Clark, James McCarthy, Harry Arter, Wes Hoolahan and Daryl Murphy, there was no sense of despondency in the Republic ranks.
“If you gave us this position at the start of the group, we’d have taken it,” added O’Shea, who won his 117th cap in Friday’s game.