Sunday 21 January 2018

'Our own media wrote us off' - James McClean delighted to silence Ireland's doubters

9 October 2017; James McClean of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's goal during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
9 October 2017; James McClean of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's goal during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Wales and Republic of Ireland at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

James McClean has revealed how being wrote off by the Irish media inspired him and his team-mates to beat Wales and secure a World Cup playoff spot.

After a draw with Georgia and a loss to Serbia last month, it looked like Ireland's World Cup chances were over. However, victories over Moldova and Wales along with other results going Ireland's way saw Martin O'Neill's men upset the odds and claim second position in Group D.

Ireland will discover their playoff opponents next Tuesday, but in the meantime, the scorer of that famous goal in Cardiff is basking in the moment.

Speaking to Off The Ball on Newstalk tonight, McClean explained how he was spurred on by people doubting that Ireland could recover on the road to Russia.

"It was a nice feeling to prove a lot of people wrong," McClean said.

"It was kind of an added bonus on top of everything else. Our own media wrote us off, 'this one's for you do you know what I mean?'"

“We went there, we did a job, we did a great job. So I think we celebrated fittingly. Like I said, we have two massive games coming up against whoever we get. But on the night we rightly deserved the win and how we celebrated was special.”

The West Brom midfielder also stood up for the Irish team's style of play, which has come in for criticism throughout Martin O'Neill's reign.

"We're never going to be a team that's going to pass teams off the park but we're hard to beat, I think we've only lost three qualifier games since the manager's taken over," he said.

McClean's strike against Wales was his fourth important goal of Ireland's campaign, after scoring the decisive goals in the away win in Moldova as well as netting the winner in Vienna against Austria.

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