JOHN O’Shea revealed a series of phone calls to Paul Clement convinced him to sign for Reading FC.

A string of Championship clubs were chasing O’Shea after Sunderland decided not to extend his contract by another year following their relegation to League One.

But it was Royals who won the race for the former Manchester United defender – with O’Shea citing his relationship with Clement as the main reason behind his decision to move to Madejski Stadium on a one-year deal.

"I'm delighted, in the last couple of weeks I've been chatting to the manager and getting an idea and feel for the place,” said 37-year-old O’Shea.

“When you see the surroundings, it's obviously very impressive and I'm looking forward to getting started now.

"People were aware that I was going to be out of contract, so a few phonecalls are made and I was able to get to speak to the manager.

"He was able to get his ideas across and it was very important for me to be able to have that ambition and look for his thoughts.

"I worked with him a good few years ago with the Irish Under 21s and when he was involved with the senior team for a couple of caretaker games when he was assistant.

"It stuck in my mind how much of an impressive coach he was, to get the chance to work with him again was important."

O’Shea joined Sunderland from Manchester United – where he won the Champions League and five Premier League titles in 2011 for £6million.

He spent seven years with the Black Cats and played almost 250 times for the club including 40 appearances last season as Sunderland slipped out of the Championship.

Reading Chronicle:

Paul Clement, right, with Royals assistant manager, Nigel Gibbs.

He is a former Republic of Ireland and Sunderland team-mate of fellow new Royals signing David Mayler, and he also played with Reading keeper Vito Mannone at the Stadium of Light.

O’Shea, who retired from international football recently after winning 118 caps, is also a close friend of Royals skipper and ex-Ireland team-mate, Paul McShane.

The Waterford-born star explained: "I'm very familiar with some current players and some former players at Reading who have done very well.

"I was able to speak to them, get little bits of advice and it was all very positive so, as I said, I'm looking forward to getting started.

"There are some exciting players in the squad, some good young players as well, I'm hoping to pass on my experience to them and also help out on the pitch - that's the most important thing."

It is believed O’Shea’s deal includes the option of moving into coaching when his playing contract expires in summer 2019.

Right now O’Shea is fully focussed on helping Royals improve on last season’s disappointing finish in 20th place and challenging for promotion once again.

"You need a fully fit, competitive squad because that's what the Championship does, it tests you,” he declared.

“It tests the squad and it's important for the manager as well to have that competition for places. That will lead to increased performances and, hopefully, it will lead to better results."

O’Shea became Reading’s third summer signing after Barnsley right-back Andy Yiadom and Mayler.

Meanwhile, centre-back Liam Moore remains a target for Premier League Brighton & Hove Albion, though it is believed Royals will not listen to offers lower than £15m.