James McClean

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Not to be confused with James McLean.
James McClean
FIFA WC-qualification 2014 - Austria vs Ireland 2013-09-10 - James McClean 01.jpg
McClean for the Republic of Ireland, September 2013.
Personal information
Full name James McClean[1]
Date of birth (1989-04-22) 22 April 1989 (age 25)
Place of birth Derry, Northern Ireland
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Winger
Club information
Current team
Wigan Athletic
Number 11
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2008 Institute 1 (0)
2008–2011 Derry City 78 (18)
2011–2013 Sunderland 70 (11)
2013– Wigan Athletic 56 (8)
National team
2008–2009 Northern Ireland U21 7 (0)
2011 League of Ireland XI 2 (0)
2012– Republic of Ireland 25 (4)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17 January 2015.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 November 2014

James McClean (/mˈkln/; born 22 April 1989) is an Irish footballer who plays as a winger for Wigan Athletic and the Republic of Ireland national football team. He played with Trojans, Institute, his hometown club Derry City, and Sunderland before moving to Wigan in August 2013.

McClean was born in Derry, Northern Ireland and played for the Northern Ireland national under-21 football team. However, McClean declined a call-up to the top level squad because he wanted to play for the Republic of Ireland. In February 2012, McClean received international clearance from FIFA which made him eligible to play for the Republic of Ireland, making his debut against Czech Republic in the same month, and representing the nation at UEFA Euro 2012.

Club career[edit]


McClean began his career at Institute, making one first team appearance as a substitute against Glentoran in the 2007–08 Irish Premier League season. Institute agreed to terminate his contract in order to join Derry City [2]

Derry City[edit]

From the Creggan area of Derry,[3] he was one of the first four players to sign for the new Derry City, along with David McDaid, and the McEleney brothers — Shane and Patrick.[4] His debut came in August 2008 when he scored in a League of Ireland Cup win.[5] McClean made his League of Ireland debut as a substitute for Kevin McHugh at Turner's Cross on 8 September 2008.[6] He had been described by the former Candystripes manager Stephen Kenny "as an exciting prospect for the future".[7]


2011–12 season[edit]

McClean joined Sunderland on 9 August 2011 for a fee of £350,000, signing a three-year contract.[8] Upon signing McClean, manager Steve Bruce indicated that he was "one for the future",[9] and also hinted that he would be in the reserve team until Christmas.[10] Since signing however, his form in the development squad was capped by a reserve-debut goal in a 4–3 win over Newcastle United recently earned him a place on the Sunderland bench.[11] Despite never making an appearance under Bruce, he made his debut for the first team in Martin O'Neill's first game in charge on 11 December, a 2–1 win over Blackburn and was credited for the comeback which saw his side overturn a 1–0 deficit, after coming on as a substitute for Jack Colback in the second half.[12]

McClean made his first start for Sunderland in their 1–0 victory over Manchester City on 1 January 2012. He scored his first senior Sunderland goal in a 4–1 win against Wigan two days later.[13] On 8 January 2012, he scored his second Sunderland goal against Peterborough United in the FA Cup Third Round Proper match, setting up another goal for Sebastian Larsson.[14] McClean provided the assist for Stéphane Sessègnon's opening goal in Sunderland's 2–0 victory over Swansea City on 21 January, and got another assist in the equalising goal for Fraizer Campbell in the FA Cup Fourth Round Proper match against Middlesbrough on 29 January. Ahead of the replay, Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray used McClean as an example for young players to follow.[15] McClean turned provider again in Sunderland's 3–0 victory over Norwich, assisting Sessègnon's goal. He scored the only goal as Sunderland beat Stoke City on 4 February in snowy conditions at the Britannia Stadium.[16] A week later, he opened the scoring in Sunderland's 1–2 home loss to Arsenal after Per Mertesacker injured himself.[17] On 23 March 2012, Sunderland announced that McClean had signed a new contract intended to force him to stay at the club until the summer of 2015.[18] A day later, he helped Sunderland to a 3–1 victory over relegation-threatened QPR by assisting the opening goal for Nicklas Bendtner to score as well as scoring the 2nd goal for Sunderland. McClean won Sunderland’s Young Player of the Year Award, at the end of the 2011–12 season.[19]

2012–13 season[edit]

McClean warming up for Sunderland in August 2012.

In August 2012, McClean scored his first two goals of the 2012–13 season in the second round of the League Cup tie against Morecambe. He also scored in the third round as well, scoring in the 82nd minute away at MK Dons.

On 10 November 2012, McClean choose not to wear a jersey with a remembrance poppy in match against Everton, instead opting for a jersey without a poppy woven into the fabric.[20] As a result he received sectarian abuse and loyalist threats especially on social networking site Twitter, although McClean had already closed his account in May.[21][22][23] His decision was however defended by team-mate David Meyler, his international manager Giovanni Trapattoni and Rio Ferdinand.[24][25][26] Sunderland confirmed in a club statement that it was his own personal choice not to wear a shirt with a poppy on this occasion and despite the club whole heartedly supporting the remembrance commemorations, they would not take action against the player.[27] Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill, who is also from Derry, did not wear a poppy on his training top on the touchline at Goodison Park, but did wear one on his suit for his post-match media duties.[27] McClean gave his signed poppy-less jersey to his former Derry City team-mate Ger O'Brien to auction off to helping raise funds for the Crumlin Cancer Ward appeal in aid of Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin located in Dublin.[26][28] It later emerged that from the marchers that were shot by British military during Bloody Sunday in Derry 1972, six of the dead were from the Creggan estate, an estate that McClean is from; team-mate John O’Shea said the whole team supported his decision.[29] A week after the incident McClean appeared as a substitute against Fulham, a match in which Sunderland won but McClean was subject to booing by his own club’s supporters.[30] On 19 November, Northumbria Police confirmed they were investigating death threats directed at McClean after images of 5.6mm bullets were placed on McClean's Twitter timeline, by a man claiming to be a British soldier.[31] The person in question sent one of his threats directly to Sinn Féin newspaper An Phoblacht via twitter, saying: "@codylachey50: @An_Phoblacht: Poppy bullies’ death threats against James McClean! Too right he deserves to be shot dead + body dragged past the cenotaph!!",[32] a threat which was later withdrawn.[33] The Derry Journal also reported that he stated: "I wanted him (McClean) dead, but there's no threat from me to James McClean now, although I can't be held responsible for what other people may do. I think he's a f***ing disgrace."[34] McClean's decision was supported by journalist Ed Upright of When Saturday Comes.[35]

McClean scored his first Premier League goal of the season in a 3–0 home defeat of Reading on 11 December, exactly twelve months to the day that he made his Sunderland debut.[36]

In April 2013 McClean was banned from driving after being caught speeding at 95 mph without a full driving licence.[37]

Wigan Athletic[edit]

McClean signed for Championship club Wigan Athletic on a three-year contract on 8 August 2013.[38] Three days later he made his debut in the 2013 FA Community Shield at Wembley Stadium, starting in a 2–0 loss to Manchester United.[39]

He scored his first goal for Wigan on 26 January 2014 in the FA Cup fourth round, a winner in a 2–1 victory against Crystal Palace.[40] He had scored on 18 December against Sheffield Wednesday, but that match was abandoned in heavy rain and his goal was struck from the records; it was the only goal of the game by the 59th minute in which it was called off.[41]

International career[edit]

McClean, an Irish national, has been quick to correct those who claim he is Northern Irish.[42][43][44]

Northern Ireland[edit]

McClean was part of the Northern Ireland team that won the 2008 Milk Cup in and scored in the opening game in a 3–1 against the US.[45] He has also represented Northern Ireland seven times at Under 21 level. On 26 July 2011 he was called up to the Northern Ireland senior squad for the match against the Faroe Islands on 10 August 2011.[46] McClean decided to wait for selection by the Republic of Ireland and therefore pulled out of the Northern Ireland squad.[47] In January 2012 he again confirmed he would not be reconsidering his decision even though the Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill had been in contact.[48]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

McClean warming up for the Republic of Ireland, September 2013.

McClean's excellent start to life in the Premier League saw increasing calls for Giovanni Trapattoni to select him for the Republic of Ireland, with Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill saying after his winning goal at Stoke: "I think he's more than capable of going [to Euro 2012]... Hopefully he's making such an impact he'll be watched by someone in the Ireland camp, even if it's not Trapattoni. They couldn't fail to be impressed.”[49] McClean received international clearance to play for the Republic of Ireland on 9 February.[50] However, he was not included in the squad for the match against the Czech Republic which was announced the next day,[51] though he was added to the squad on 20 February after an impressive display against Arsenal in the FA Cup Fifth Round Proper.[52][53]

McClean made his international debut on 29 February 2012, coming on in the 78th minute for Aiden McGeady in a friendly against the Czech Republic at the Aviva Stadium.[54] On 7 May 2012, Giovanni Trapattoni confirmed that McClean was part of the Irish UEFA Euro 2012 squad.[55][56] He then received sectarian abuse via Twitter. On 26 May 2012, McClean made his first senior international start against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the final home friendly ahead of UEFA Euro 2012, playing on the left flank.[57]

On 10 June 2012, the date of Ireland's first UEFA Euro 2012 match in Poland, McClean was left on the bench; the game ended in a 3–1 defeat to Croatia.[58] Two days before Ireland's next match on 14 June 2012, Ireland manager Trapattoni hinted that McClean would not feature in that game against world champions Spain. After much public urging for Trapattoni to make use of McClean's talents to recover Ireland's progress in the European Championship, Trapattoni claimed that "His time would come in the future".[58] However, on 14 June 2012, McClean appeared as a substitute against Spain, coming on in the 76th minute in Gdańsk.[59]

On 7 September 2012, after being left on the bench during Ireland's 2–1 victory over Kazakhstan in a World Cup 2014 qualifier, McClean used Twitter to criticise manager Giovanni Trapattoni.[60] The tweet, and McClean's account, were subsequently deleted and the winger was forced to apologise to teammates.[61]

On 11 June 2014, McClean scored his first international goal in the 5–1 defeat by Portugal in the MetLife Stadium during Ireland's US tour. [62]

On the 11 October 2014 after missing the game against Georgia, McClean made his first appearance of the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against minnows Gibraltar scoring a brace in a 7–0 rout in the Aviva Stadium.[63]

Career statistics[edit]


As of match played 11 October 2014.
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Derry City 2008[64] LOI Premier Division 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2009[64] LOI Premier Division 26 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 26 1
2010[65] LOI First Division 30 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 30 10
2011[65] LOI Premier Division 21 7 0 0 1 0 0 0 22 7
Total 78 18 0 0 1 0 0 0 79 18
Sunderland 2011–12[66] Premier League 23 9 6 3 0 0 29 12
2012–13[67] Premier League 36 2 2 0 3 3 41 5
Total 59 7 8 1 3 3 70 11
Wigan Athletic 2013–14[68] Championship 37 3 5 1 0 0 6 0 48 4
2014–15 Championship 7 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 4
Total 44 5 5 1 0 0 6 0 55 8
Career total 163 30 13 2 4 3 6 0 183 37


As of match played 18 November 2014.[69]
National team Year Apps Goals
Republic of Ireland 2012 6 0
2013 12 0
2014 7 4
Total 25 4

International goals[edit]

Result lists Republic of Ireland's goal first



Derry City


Northern Ireland


  • Sunderland Young Player of the Year (1): 2011–12


  1. ^ "Premier League Clubs submit Squad Lists". Premier League. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  2. ^ http://backpagefootball.com/james-mcclean-the-republic-of-ireland%E2%80%99s-wildcard/32504/
  3. ^ "Quinn praise for James McClean". Derry Journal. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Derry sign up first four players". BBC Sport (BBC). 10 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Derry City 4–1 Bohemians". RTÉ Sport (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 1 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008. 
  6. ^ Smith, Alan. "Cork City 1 – 1 Derry City". www.extratime.ie. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Nick Hilton (6 July 2011). "Everton FC eyeing move for talented young Irishman James McClean". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Derry winger James McClean completes Sunderland move". BBC Sport (BBC). 9 August 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Leslie, Matthew (10 August 2011). "Steve Bruce: James McClean is worth a risk". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Leslie, Matthew (13 August 2011). "James McClean could rise like Meyler – Bruce". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  11. ^ King, Dan (7 September 2011). "Sunderland Res 4 Newcastle Res 3". Newcastle United Football Club. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  12. ^ McNulty, Phil (11 December 2011). "Sunderland 2–1 Blackburn". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "Goal capped off Sunderland win at Wigan – James McClean (Interview)". BBC News (BBC). Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Sheringham, Sam (8 January 2012). "Peterborough 0 – 2 Sunderland". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Tony Mowbray urges Middlesbrough players to be like James McClean". The Guardian (London: Guardian Media Group). 7 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  16. ^ Osborne, Chris. "Stoke 0 – 1 Sunderland". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 4 February 2012. 
  17. ^ Sinnott, John. "Sunderland 1 -2 Arsenal". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 11 February 2012. 
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  21. ^ Guardian McClean threats
  22. ^ "Poppy boycott was McClean's decision – Sunderland". Emirates 24/7 (Dubai Media Incorporated). 11 November 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  23. ^ "James McClean closes Twitter account after sectarian abuse". BBC News (BBC). 9 May 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  24. ^ "David Meyler defends James McClean’s poppy decision". TheScore.ie (Distilled Media). 13 November 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  25. ^ McDonnell, Daniel (12 November 2012). "Trapattoni supports James McClean's decision not to wear poppy in wake of social media outrage". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Fitzmaurice, Aidan (12 November 2012). "McClean's 'poppy-less' shirt up for grabs". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  27. ^ a b Edwards, Luke (11 November 2012). "Sunderland confirm James McClean made decision not to wear a poppy on his shirt during defeat to Everton". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  28. ^ O'Reilly, Morgam (12 November 2012). "Want to own James McClean’s poppy-less Sunderland jersey?". SportsNewsIreland.com. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  29. ^ Young, Colin (11 February 2013). "McClean defends poppy decision as club warns him to steer clear of Twitter". Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  30. ^ "James McClean booed by Sunderland fans". The Northern Echo (Newsquest). 18 November 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  31. ^ "James McClean: Police investigate reports of 'threats' against fooballer". BBC News (BBC). 19 November 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  32. ^ Hedges, John (16 November 2012). "Poppy row: Death threats to James McClean probed". www.anphoblacht.com. An Phoblacht. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  33. ^ Edwards, Luke (18 November 2012). "Sunderland winger James McClean sent death threats for refusing to wear a Remembrance Day Poppy". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  34. ^ Jonathan, Liew (19 November 2012). "Police to investigate after death threats to James McClean". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  35. ^ Ed Upright (22 November 2012). "It is James McClean's right not to wear a poppy". When Saturday Comes. 
  36. ^ "Sunderland 3–0 Reading". ESPNFC. 11 December 2012. 
  37. ^ "Republic of Ireland star McClean gets driving ban". Irish Independent. 
  38. ^ "McCLEAN BECOMES TENTH SUMMER SIGNING". Wigan Athletic FC. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  39. ^ Rostance, Tom (11 August 2013). "Man Utd 2–0 Wigan". BBC Sport. 
  40. ^ "FA Cup: James McClean's winner sees Wigan through after 2–1 win over Crystal Palace". Sky Sports. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  41. ^ McMath, James (18 December 2013). "Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wigan Athletic 1 (abandoned after 59 minutes, bad weather): match report". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  42. ^ Heneghan, Conor (6 February 2012). "James McClean: Hey Colin Murray, don't call me Northern Irish". JOE.ie. Retrieved 6 February 2012. That sure told him and besides, it is not the first battle McClean has had to fight on Twitter of late, with the left winger having to remind everybody that although his name is spelt McClean, it is actually pronounced McClane – just think of John McClane from Die Hard and you'll get the picture. 
  43. ^ McKinley, Stuart (10 February 2012). "'Colin Murray, get it right' – James McClean reveals why he turned down Northern Ireland". The Belfast Telegraph (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 10 February 2012. The strike was one of the highlights of Match of the Day 2’s weekend round-up, with the Belfast-born presenter proudly reminding viewers that this was a fellow countryman scoring in the Premier League — not something that happens too often nowadays — as he described McClean as ‘Northern Irish’. Not me was McClean’s response as he replied via his Twitter account: “Colin murray get it right will you its #irish” 
  44. ^ Taylor, Louise (17 February 2012). "James McClean sweeps into Martin O'Neill's good books at Sunderland". The Guardian (London: Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 17 February 2012. When Murray, who is from Belfast, commented that it was good to see a Northern Irishman scoring Sunderland's winner against Stoke, McClean's riposte, via Twitter, was unequivocal: "Colin Murray get it right will you, it's Irish." 
  45. ^ "NI BOYS BEAT USA IN MILK CUP". Northern Irish Football Association. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  46. ^ "Northern Ireland recall Rangers' David Healy for Faroe Islands game". The Guardian (London: Guardian Media Group). 26 July 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  47. ^ "ames McClean switches from N Ireland to Republic". BBC Sport (BBC). 8 August 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  48. ^ "Sunderland's James McClean rules out Northern Ireland rethink". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  49. ^ Edwards, Luke (3 February 2012). "Take winger James McClean to Euro 2012, says Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  50. ^ "McClean gets green light for Republic". RTÉ Sport (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 9 February 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  51. ^ "McClean is omitted from Republic squad". RTÉ Sport (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 10 February 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  52. ^ "McClean & Green earn call-ups". Sky Sports. 
  53. ^ Taylor, Louise (18 February 2012). "Sunderland 2–0 Arsenal". The Guardian (London). 
  54. ^ Wright, Rob (29 February 2012). "As it happened: Rep Ireland 1–1 Czech Rep". RTÉ Sport (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  55. ^ "McClean in Euros squad; McCarthy withdraws due to family illness". Irish Examiner (Thomas Crosbie Holdings). 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  56. ^ "McCarthy out as McClean makes the plane". RTÉ. 7 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  57. ^ "McClean included in Republic line-up". RTÉ. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  58. ^ a b "Euro 2012: Trapattoni unlikely to use McClean against Spain". 10 June 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  59. ^ "Republic of Ireland Euro exit confirmed by Spain". RTÉ Sport (RTÉ). 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  60. ^ Delaney, Miguel (9 September 2012). "McClean tweet highlights simmering Irish tension". The Independent (London). 
  61. ^ http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/news/sorry-mcclean-kept-ireland-squad-203349787.html
  62. ^ "Brazil-bound Portugal expose tired Ireland in New Jersey". Irish Times. 11 June 2014. 
  63. ^ "Republic of Ireland 7–0 Gibraltar". Goal.com. 11 October 2014. 
  64. ^ a b "Career". The Irish Times (Dublin). Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  65. ^ a b "J. McClean". Soccerway. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  66. ^ "Games played by James McClean in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  67. ^ "Games played by James McClean in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  68. ^ "Games played by James McClean in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  69. ^ "McClean, James". National Football Teams. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 

External links[edit]