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McLean as good as Bale - O'Neill

MARTIN O'Neill has compared "electrifying" James McClean to Spurs sensation Gareth Bale and credited the Derryman with transforming Sunderland's season.

"Do I see comparisons with Bale? Why not. James has electrified the place -- I don't think I'm being too strong when I say that -- but he's been great.

"He's been a major plus for us in pulling ourselves round," said O'Neill (left) who also had some words of advice for his mercurial talent. "Sometimes he maybe just needs to have another look up. He doesn't have to beat his man every time."

Ireland assistant Marco Tardelli admitted that he has seen a slight drop in form from McClean (right) in recent weeks.

"This is normal for a young player. Sometimes he plays two good games and then one not so good," said Tardelli.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill believes that Giovanni Trapattoni should take McClean to Euro 2012.

"You pick the players on form. Personally I would bring him James. He's having a fantastic season. He would certainly be in my squad but that's a luxury I don't have," said the former Shamrock Rovers' boss ruefully.