McShane eager to continue Hull journey... on his terms

Hull City's Paul McShane battles for the ball with Stoke City's Steve Sidwell
Hull City's Paul McShane battles for the ball with Stoke City's Steve Sidwell
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AS the longest serving Hull City player by some distance, Paul McShane is keen to hang around at a club he steadfastly believes is going places.

The 28-year-old, whose first appearance for the Tigers came more than six years ago, is in the final 12 months of his contract at the KC Stadium.

Steve Bruce revealed earlier this week to The Yorkshire Post that talks will begin soon with not only McShane over a possible extension but also Alex Bruce, Liam Rosenior and Stephen Quinn.

It is a development McShane welcomes. This is, let’s not forget, a club he joined initially on loan in August, 2008, before making the move permanent a year later.

What the Republic of Ireland international is not, however, is someone willing to sit around on the bench with only limited opportunities to play. He is, after all, someone who once braved the wrath of Sir Alex Ferguson after a meeting with the then Manchester United manager that culminated in a 20-year-old McShane slapping in a transfer request.

So, when the defender finally does sit down with the Tigers hierarchy to discuss a new deal, the fact he has only started four Premier League games this term is likely to be uppermost in his mind.

“I want to be part of the club in the future,” said McShane, who this week failed to make the final cut for Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifier with Scotland on Friday despite being named in Martin O’Neill’s initial 37-man squad.

“I have been through thick and thin here. Good times, bad times. So, I do feel close to Hull City and would like to stay. But it is in the lap of the Gods and we will have to see what happens.”

Pressed on what this season has been like due to being forced to wait for a first-team opportunity, McShane replied: “It has been very frustrating. I want to play.

“Not playing is hard. I feel I should be a part of it. I am quite impatient and get frustrated when not playing. The way I train and play, I want to be playing every game. It is tough but I keep fighting on.”

When at Old Trafford, McShane was behind Jonny Evans and Gerard Pique in the pecking order of budding defenders. He was realistic to know that edging out one of that pair would be difficult, hence his move to West Bromwich Albion in 2006.

McShane’s strong desire for first-team football during that episode at United led to several fanciful stories doing the rounds, including how he had once challenged Pique to a race in the car park because Ferguson had said the Spaniard was quicker.

All were nonsense, with the only truth being just how strongly the Irishman felt about not joining the ranks of once promising youngsters who went on to rot in the Old Trafford reserves.

Eight years on – five of which have been spent in the top flight with City and Sunderland – McShane’s determination to start afresh away from United has been more than justified.

His time at the KC began just a few weeks into City’s first Premier League season, meaning he is the only survivor from those first, exciting few steps taken by the Yorkshire club as Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur et al were humbled unexpectedly. Hull’s stunning start to 2008-09 saw them sit third after nine games and while McShane admits the current squad put together by Bruce is of the highest quality, the defender believes not enough credit is given to Phil Brown’s team.

“We have come quite a way since I joined and that is great,” he said. “But I also believe we can’t forget about what we did a few years ago. That is what annoys me. People just look at the last couple of years and forget the rest. This club has been on a journey for the last six or seven years.”

McShane, back in the side for the last two games, believes last week’s defeat at Burnley was a one-off and that City will be firing when the Premier League resumes after the international break.

“We can’t dwell on it because once you do that it can be difficult to pick your head up,” he said. “We can’t allow the heads to go down.”