Friday 17 November 2017

'What more motivation do you need?' - James McClean calls out Irish players who shirk international duty

24 March 2017; James McClean of Republic of Ireland during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
24 March 2017; James McClean of Republic of Ireland during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier Group D match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland winger James McClean has restated his desire to pull on the Republic of Ireland jersey as the West Brom attacker prepares for his 50th international cap against Mexico on Thursday.

McClean is set to captain Ireland after making himself available for the game while the majority of his Premier League counterparts take some rest before next month's pivotal World Cup qualifier with Austria.

The Derry native started just 13 games for West Brom this season, after 20 starts last campaign, and while he hasn't received as much gametime with Tony Pulis' side as he may have liked, he did insist that he does not need to be asked twice to play for the national team.

"What more motivation do you need than when you're playing for your country?" McClean told RTÉ Sport on Tuesday.

"I'm fit and ready, and when I'm fit and ready I'm available for selection. I spoke to Martin; I decided that I wanted to come here and thankfully he wanted to me to come as well so it was all good."

O'Neill is toying with the idea of playing McClean as a left-wing-back after previously experimenting with the 28-year-old as a makeshift striker.

McClean said that he is open to playing in a deeper position on the left, and that it would actually add to his versatility as a player, but that ultimately he's just eager to play, an attitude which is seemingly not always replicated by some of his international teammates.

"I haven't played there that often but if it adds more bows to my string and gives me that new experience of playing somewhere else, I'm all for it," added McClean.

"I just want to play. It gets on my nerves when players come in and they're not fit for games, but they are for the club games at the weekend. That gets to me.

"To see the excitement here of lads who want to wear that jersey, it's brilliant. It rubs off on you."

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill said that McClean would captain the side if he started and that Ireland would be buoyed by his impeccable disciplinary record.

"You know what, I think that it would be worthwhile doing it if that's the case," O'Neill said yesterday before the squad flew to America.

"It is his 50th, isn't it? Yeah, if he starts the game I'm sure he will be captain. "For the 50th for a start and because he's got that great discipline about him which he just exudes whenever he plays.

"James will think he's nailed on for it. James would think that."

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