Sunday 4 December 2016

Jack Grealish must follow his gut over country call - McClean

Published 20/05/2015 | 02:30

James McClean advised Jack Grealish to only play for a country if he wants to
James McClean advised Jack Grealish to only play for a country if he wants to

James McClean has told Jack Grealish that he only should only declare for Ireland if his heart is fully invested in the cause.

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The Aston Villa star's international dilemma has dominated the early build-up to next month's crunch Euro 2016 qualifier with Scotland and McClean, who switched allegiance from Northern Ireland after representing them at U-21 level, says that Grealish can only follow his gut feeling when he makes the decision.

"If you don't want to play for a country then you shouldn't play for them," said McClean last night on BBC Radio Foyle on a trip home to watch Derry play Shamrock Rovers in the EA Sports Cup.

"Look, I'm sure the lad will make whatever decision he makes. I love playing for my country and all the rest of the lads do who play there. If anyone doesn't want to play then so be it. Go and play for someone else, that's my view of it."

McClean was coy on his own future. He is on course to leave Wigan after a 'car crash' season saw them relegated to League One and a switch to the MLS has been floated as a real option, although Martin O'Neill is sceptical about that plan.

"I'm fortunate to have quite a number of options but just for me at the minute I'm enjoying my time at home and letting other people take care of that stuff and do their job," he said.

"I've just turned 26 so this next move is going to be the most crucial of my career. There won't be any rushed decisions."

"I share the same ambition as every player and I want to play at the top level. It would be great to play in the Premier League again. I have nothing to prove to nobody else, only to prove to myself."

James McClean in action for Ireland
James McClean in action for Ireland

In the short term, McClean is firmly focused on the June 13 date with the Scots and was typically blunt when asked about the importance of the game.

"If we don't win, I think we can kiss goodbye to France," he said. "It's something to look forward to. Look, we didn't perform in Scotland and we know that but we have a chance to make amends now and if we get three points it would set us up nicely and give us a real chance of getting to France."

Meanwhile, Kevin Doyle is looking forward to getting started in America after linking up in training with his new team-mates at Colorado Rapids and says the growing profile of the MLS has increased his anticipation levels.

"In Europe, in Britain and Ireland it's on TV now and more people know about it," he said. "It's a league that is on the up and people are excited about being part of something different."

Closer to home, Limerick have confirmed that they will return to Markets Field from their temporary home of Jackman Park for the Premier Division meeting with Drogheda on June 5.

Irish Independent

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