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Sunday 25 September 2016

'James McClean has got to turn towards the flag like everyone else' - Tony Pulis on England flag snub

Nick Mashiter

Published 21/07/2015 | 12:19

The Republic of Ireland international James McClean during the national anthem
The Republic of Ireland international James McClean during the national anthem

West Brom manager Pulis has warned James McClean he must protect his reputation after his snub of the English flag.

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McClean refused to face the cross of St George during the national anthem while on Albion's pre-season tour of America.

The winger, signed from Wigan this summer, is from a republican background in Northern Ireland and has also refused to wear a Remembrance Day poppy out of respect for people killed on Bloody Sunday.

"Obviously there has been a stigma around him and he doesn't need to start that up again," Pulis told the Wolverhampton Express & Star.

"So hopefully we've nipped it in the bud and we can get on with our things and he can get on with his things. I didn't see the situation but I had a chat with him and explained what we do as a football club and the way we are and I think he's fine with everything.

"We've got Northern Ireland lads in the squad and he's been absolutely fantastic with them, and the way he's mixed and integrated with the group has been brilliant.

"I've seen the pictures and he's got to turn towards the flag like everybody else has and he recognises that."

Meanwhile, the Baggies are expected to step up their interest in Liverpool's Rickie Lambert in the next 24 hours.

The Baggies are keen to bring the striker to The Hawthorns and talks are set to take place between all parties, Press Association Sport understands.

A deal could be wrapped up by the end of the week with Albion's transfer activity expected to gather pace now boss Tony Pulis has returned from the United States following their three-game tour.

Pulis is hunting a new striker to help Saido Berahino with question marks over record signing Brown Ideye's future following a disappointing first season in England.

Lambert also struggled to make an impact at Liverpool after a move from Southampton last summer with the 33-year-old scoring just three times in 36 appearances.

He rejected a deadline day move to Aston Villa in February with the forward insisting he did not want to leave Liverpool after just half a season.

But the England international will also fall down the pecking order on Merseyside with the impending arrival of Christian Benteke, with the Aston Villa striker set to complete a £32.5million transfer to Anfield.

Pulis is overhauling his squad this summer with QPR's Matt Phillips and Arsenal's Serge Gnabry on his radar.

Michail Antonio remains a target despite West Brom having a £5million bid rejected by Nottingham Forest last week. It is understood the Baggies remain confident they can land the winger.

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