The January signing of Lamine Kone from FC Lorient paired alongside the in-form Younes Kaboul has kept O’Shea out of the side. In the latter stages of the season, both Kaboul and Kone hadn’t conceded a goal in over 500 minutes of Premier League football.
The question Sam Allardyce will have to ask himself next season, is whether or not O’Shea will be first choice ahead of either Kone or Kaboul. The likely answer to that question is no, purely down to the rock solid partnership the pair had since the end of January last season.
Allardyce will know the Irishman has excellent leadership qualities off the field, and so will have to assess whether or not that warrants the ex-Manchester United defender keeping the armband.
Other options for the armband?
Throughout the Sunderland starting 11, there are a few options for a new club captain. The first option is Lee Cattermole who has a wealth of experience and has also captained the club in previous years. However, it isn't likely that the 28-year-old will be a first team starter at the start of next season.
Yann M’Vila is looking likely to take a pay cut and re-join the Black Cats from Rubin Kazan on a permanent basis, while Jan Kirchoff will also be first choice over Cattermole after a brilliant half of a season since joining from European giants, Bayern Munich.
Kaboul is the likely candidate to be the player wearing the captain’s armband come the middle of August. The Frenchman has almost 10 years of Premier League experience and captained his previous club Tottenham Hotspur. Allardyce also gave Kaboul the armband on a few occasions last season, when Captain O’Shea and vice-captain Cattermole weren’t in the starting 11.
O’Shea is still likely to play a massive part with squad cohesion within the dressing room and on the training field, even though he may not be the captain from the start of the new season. The Irishman will still feature as back up for the injury prone Kaboul too.