James McClean to honour Ryan McBride by wearing number five jersey against Wales
James McClean will honour his friend and former team-mate Ryan McBride by wearing the number five jersey for Ireland against Wales in the Aviva Stadium this Friday night.
Derry City captain McBride passed away at home last Sunday at the age of 27 to leave the football world in shock.
An FAI spokesperson confirmed to Independent.ie that the number five jersey will be worn by Derry native McClean, irrespective of whether he starts the match or not.
Richard Keogh is expected to start the game at centre-half and would normally wear number five, but he has agreed to give the shirt to McClean, who made the request personally.
Ireland manager Martin O'Neill confirmed that McClean will be given time to attend the funeral mass of McBride.
"I didn't know the young lad personally myself, but James McClean is a very good friend of his. James is devastated by the news, obviously his family is as well. It's a really tragic event," said O'Neill.
"You get things like this almost on a daily basis and it's puts football and sport in some sort of perspective.
"James, who is probably the closest to him and his family, if there's anything that he feels he wants to do, then I would certainly give him the time to do so."
Following McBride's untimely passing, McClean shared a poignant message on social media.
"Tonight we lost someone [I] had to the privilege to play along aside but also got on well with of the field, a warrior that literally would throw his body on the line when he pulled on that Derry City jersey, a club that meant so much to him, but more importantly a big gentleman of the field.. sleep tight big man may god bless you and your family #5 #townilovedsowell," McClean wrote on Instagram.
Read more here:
- 'I'm not going to shy away from expressing my feelings' - James McClean pays tribute to 'hero' Martin McGuinness
- WATCH: 'It's shocking but we have to focus on Friday' - Roy Keane on the tragic death on Derry City's Ryan McBride
- Ireland star Shane Duffy responds to criticism over Martin McGuinness tribute tweet