John O'Shea has stated that the senior players in the Sunderland squad have a very important role to play in the upcoming Premier League campaign.

The Irish defender has amassed more than 300 appearances in the top flight of English football, and he appreciates that he will need to pass on that experience to his younger team-mates if the Black Cats wish to improve on last season's 17th-place finish.

Under the direction of new manager Paolo Di Canio, there have been eight new arrivals at the Stadium of Light this summer. With only two of those - Jozy Altidore and Vito Mannone - having any Premier League experience, it will be important for them to adapt as quickly as possible.

Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, O'Shea showed his awareness of the fact that the older members of the dressing room will have a big role to play this year.

"Obviously it helps having that experience when you're blooding in new players because you've been there and done it," the defender told the newspaper.

And he also singled out former Manchester United buddy Wes Brown as being an integral part of the Sunderland set-up.

The 32-year-old added: "Wes has been fit now for the whole of pre-season and that has been a real, real boost for us. He's a special player and fingers crossed he stays fit, because he would be like a new signing and a very valuable one at that."

Sunderland's season commences at home to Fulham on August 17, and fans in the north east will be hoping that their new signings are raring to give their all in the Premier League from the the very first whistle.


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