Surely McClean worth letting out of the Irish Trap

OMITTED: James McClean

OMITTED: James McClean

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Football/Golf Writer

THERE was a notable absentee when Giovanni Trapattoni announced his squad for the Republic of Ireland's friendly with the Czech Republic at the end of the month.

Despite a rapid rise to prominence and growing calls from across the Irish Sea to see James McClean involved, the Sunderland winger was omitted.

Trapattoni's assistant Marco Tardelli might not have seen the 22-year-old in full flow when he travelled to Middlesbrough on Wednesday night to see him in FA Cup action, but Trapattoni should already know enough about his talents.

McClean has tormented Premier League defences since his sudden arrival on to the top-flight stage when Martin O'Neill took over in early December. Yet Trapattoni has stuck to his guns and overlooked him.

Ireland's Italian boss is determined to stand by all of the players that secured qualification to the European Championships for this summer's finals.

And that, it seems, will prevent Sunderland's £350,000 wing-wizard from travelling to the Ukraine and Poland.

Trapattoni did include the likes of Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady in his 24-man squad which was announced yesterday, so he is not exactly short of wingers.

But if McClean keeps performing like he has for the majority of the matches he has played then surely it will be impossible for him to be overlooked.

He has that spark to win matches, even if he was to be used from the bench, to make an impact for Ireland. So he should at least be given an opportunity to show what he is capable of before Trapattoni's finals squad is named in June.

It is understandable that Trapattoni wants to remain loyal to the group of players that performed so competently during qualifying.

However, it could be the unpredictable talent of McClean that could prove to be the difference between reaching the knock-out stages of Euro 2012 or heading back early.

The Derryman recently pledged his allegiance to the Republic rather than play for Northern Ireland, which Trapattoni acknowledged by telling him he has a big part to play in the future.

That part should turn out to be true. Yet a player with such raw talent which most of the world knows little about would have the potential to light up this summer's finals.

Hopefully Trapattoni will be forced in to a rethink over the next few months, McClean would be a Sunderland player to keep an eye on at Euro 2012.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:22pm Sat 11 Feb 12

ace38 says...

McLean should be playing for Northern Ireland. Neither there should be a rule that you can only play for the country you were born in or there should be only one international team in Ireland. Northern Ireland is small enough without players defecting. The choice is partly football related, but is also political.
So I am delighted that McLean has been excluded from the Republic`s squad.
McLean should be playing for Northern Ireland. Neither there should be a rule that you can only play for the country you were born in or there should be only one international team in Ireland. Northern Ireland is small enough without players defecting. The choice is partly football related, but is also political. So I am delighted that McLean has been excluded from the Republic`s squad. ace38
  • Score: 0

11:46am Mon 13 Feb 12

jabdc5, the land that's still trying to recover from the last tory government. says...

so Terry Butcher should have played for Singapore? Owen Hargreaves for Canada? Matt Le Tissier for Guernsey? Talk sense man, the reason this rule was brought in was to help smaller countries compete by allowing them access to better players.
so Terry Butcher should have played for Singapore? Owen Hargreaves for Canada? Matt Le Tissier for Guernsey? Talk sense man, the reason this rule was brought in was to help smaller countries compete by allowing them access to better players. jabdc5, the land that's still trying to recover from the last tory government.
  • Score: 0

1:09am Tue 14 Feb 12

ace38 says...

To clarify my original comment, the current FIFA rule is that a footballer can play for the country of his birth, his parent`s birth or his grandparent`s birth.
In line with the Good Friday Agreement of 1997 in Belfast, FIFA are allowing footballers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who qualify as stated above, to choose which of the two countries they wish to play for.
As the two countries are separate this goes against FIFA rules. Although both parts of Ireland were one until 1921, they are now separate. It is like allowing an Italian from the South Tyrol to play for Austria because it was part of Austria until 1918, but is part of Italy since then.
To clarify my original comment, the current FIFA rule is that a footballer can play for the country of his birth, his parent`s birth or his grandparent`s birth. In line with the Good Friday Agreement of 1997 in Belfast, FIFA are allowing footballers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who qualify as stated above, to choose which of the two countries they wish to play for. As the two countries are separate this goes against FIFA rules. Although both parts of Ireland were one until 1921, they are now separate. It is like allowing an Italian from the South Tyrol to play for Austria because it was part of Austria until 1918, but is part of Italy since then. ace38
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree