Wednesday 16 October 2019

'I stand by with what I said' - James McClean hits back at critics accusing him of hypocrisy

James McClean and (inset) Declan Rice
James McClean and (inset) Declan Rice

Harry Clarke

James McClean has hit back at critics who have accused him of hypocrisy following recent comments about Declan Rice's decision to consider a call up from England.

Martin O'Neill earlier this week revealed that 19-year-old Rice will not be involved in the forthcoming Nations League clash against Wales, a competitive fixture that would secure his international future with the Boys In Green.

Rice has been approached by Gareth Southgate and England and is taking time out to consider his options.

Rice's decision sparked heated debate with Kevin Kilbane tweeting: "I'd rather be ranked 150th in the world and never qualify again than have someone who has played, but needs time to THINK whether they should play for us again. Well done to MON for transparency."

This drew a response from Rice's international team-mate McClean, who said: "Bang on lad.. representing your country should be an honour and a proud moment (Irish flag)."

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McClean, who has always been fully committed to the Republic of Ireland, was accused of hypocrisy in some quarters because he represented Nothern Ireland at Under-21 level. reports that McClean took to Instagram stories to reiterate his stance.

"Let's clear one thing up here, people crying hypocrisy on my part. My situation is nowhere near the same, I didn't qualify to play for Ireland through no granny rule!" wrote the Derry man on Instagram.

"I am an Irish citizen living in the island of Ireland, I have never in my life claimed to be anything other than Irish!

"I played with the North when I was younger, I have openly admitted in the past to taking advantage of a system to further myself, we all make mistakes.

"Big difference here is I had no intention of ever playing senior football for the North of Ireland, nothing or no one would of ever changed that, which I made crystal clear when I declined a senior call up whilst I was a Derry City player.

"So I stand by with what I said playing for your country should be an honour and a proud moment."

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