Saturday 23 September 2017

Quinn warns McClean to concentrate on football

Niall Quinn is to receive the freedom of Sunderland
Niall Quinn is to receive the freedom of Sunderland
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

NIALL Quinn has warned James McClean that he is in danger of falling by the wayside like Stephen Ireland unless he focuses more on his football.

The former Ireland international, who as chairman of Sunderland was central to the deal which brought McClean to England, remains a big fan of the winger.

However, he is concerned by the Derry native's well-documented Twitter misdemeanours and other controversies which overshadowed his difficult second season at the Stadium of Light and hopes that the new campaign will see the 24-year-old deliver on his potential.

Cobh-born midfielder Ireland has a year remaining on his lucrative contract at Aston Villa but remains out of favour and is now better known for the headlines generated by his lifestyle and his exile from the international set-up.

"There's a warning there, although Stephen Ireland would argue he's earned a lot of money along the way. I hope James doesn't fall into that trap," said Quinn (pictured below).

"This is about fulfilling your own ambitions. I hope James is big and tough enough to realise that it's not about interviews, not about Twitter, not about flash cars.

"I hope it's all in the past. I hope he has matured. I do send him the odd text wishing him well.

"For James, the new season is all about his application, his creativity, being really tough to mark, his defensive work, his energy – all the things that looked to be a little bit below par last season.

"He's got to get a good pre-season under his belt and he's got to get back to letting other people talk about him."

Meanwhile, Quinn believes that Ireland defender Richard Dunne may have to settle for a heavily pay-as-you-play-based deal to stay in the Premier League.

Dunne, who was released by Aston Villa after a season in which he failed to play a single game due to a recurring groin problem, is believed to be in advanced negotiations with relegated QPR.

Quinn would like to see the centre-half continue at the highest level, but he can understand his difficulty in finding a club.

"When you're looking for a player, you look at the minutes he's played," said Quinn. "That's why Richard hasn't walked into another club.

"It's been 16 months, maybe 17 months, since we've seen him in regular Richard Dunne-mode week in, week out, being the mainstay of the team.

"There are medical procedures in place now and Richard is finding it tough to convince clubs.

"Go right back to Paul McGrath, when nobody would touch him, and Aston Villa took him and he was Player of the Year.

Dreaded

"If I was in a club and had access to his records, I would take Richard Dunne at 50-50 all day long. But he may have to go the dreaded pay-as-you-play route.

"I took a chance with a similar deal when Sunderland took Wes Brown from Manchester United and he played very, very well up to a point where he then got injured.

"He's the forgotten man of Sunderland now and he's lucky he's got a year left on his deal."

On a brighter note, Quinn, who was speaking as Sky launched their schedule for the upcoming Premier League season, reiterated his belief that Ireland midfielder James McCarthy is capable of securing a move to a top-four club.

"I know he is on the notebook of virtually all of them," Quinn said, "but whether they push it through to sign him is another thing."

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