Sunderland winger James McClean receives Ireland call-up

 

Sunderland winger James McClean has been called into the Republic of Ireland squad for the friendly clash with the Czech Republic later this month.

The 22-year-old former Derry City player, who has been in fine form for the Black Cats since being given his chance by manager Martin O'Neill, has been drafted in along with Derby midfielder Paul Green.

McClean had been expected to be included in Giovanni Trapattoni's initial squad when it was announced earlier this month, but will now take his place along with Green in a 26-man party for the friendly at the Aviva Stadium on February 29.

The Londonderry-born midfielder was signed from his home-town club for £350,000 last summer by O'Neill's predecessor Steve Bruce, but it was not until his compatriot's arrival at the Stadium of Light that he was given the opportunity to make an impact on the senior stage.

McClean made an eye-catching first-team debut as a substitute in the new manager's opening game, a 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Blackburn, and after a further two appearances from the bench, was handed a start against Manchester City on New Year's Day.

He has remained in the team ever since and has contributed four goals as well as some fine wing play to Sunderland's impressive run of form, which saw them beat Arsenal 2-0 on Saturday to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals and extend their record under O'Neill to 10 victories in 15 games.

Asked recently about McClean's international potential ahead of this summer's Euro 2012 finals, O'Neill said: "He is more than worth having a look at. I think he can force his way into the squad.

"Of course, the players who have got the Republic of Ireland there would deserve great credit for that, but there is always room for an emerging talent."

Trapattoni indicated in the wake of qualification for Poland and Ukraine that he would be keeping faith with the men who had taken Ireland to the finals.

In announcing his squad on February 10 after weeks of speculation that McClean would be included, he stuck to his guns.

However, he later revealed he had spoke to the Sunderland 22-year-old, who had earlier been granted clearance to represent the Republic rather than his native Northern Ireland by FIFA after exercising his right to do so, and told him his time would come.

Trapattoni said: "I think all the squad deserve to come with us. They believe us and they know us.

"We have four or five other names because we have no time to change. One is McClean.

"I spoke with him and I said, 'Congratulations, James, I wish you to come with us.' We now have insurance that he can play with us, and this is important.

"He said, 'When you decide, call me up'. I told him 100 per cent he will be with us for the future. Now, I'm looking to consolidate."

However, McClean's chance may now come earlier than he initially thought having been presented with the opportunity to impress the Italian in training at the Republic's Malahide base ahead of the clash with the Czechs.

McClean expressed his delight via Twitter.

He tweeted: "Absolutely buzzin [sic] and honoured to be called up to represent my country... best feeling there is."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions