Saturday 22 September 2018

'He gets people off their a**e' - Damien Duff doesn't want to see James McClean holding back

James McClean. Photo: Sportsfile
James McClean. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Damien Duff believes that calling on James McClean to calm down his approach too much could neutralise his main strength.

And he believes that Ireland need the West Brom winger to set the tone if they are to get past Denmark and make it to the World Cup.

Martin O'Neill's side arrived in Copenhagen last night and they are hoping to continue their excellent away record in this campaign in tomorrow's first leg.

McClean has been key along the way, scoring the winning goals in Austria, Moldova and Wales.

Duff was in the Ireland squad when McClean broke through and made mistakes and he still feels the 28-year-old is capable of bad decisions. But he has come to accept that it's a part of a good package.

"He is affecting games and that's what big players do," says Duff.

"He scores a great goal and then he's giving away stupid free-kicks in the last five or ten minutes against Wales.

"You don't want James ever to lose that edge - just maybe to tone down his decision-making with those types of free kicks. But at the same time, when the team isn't doing well he gets people off their arses."

The retired Irish international spent a short time in the international squad with McClean when the Derry man burst on to the scene before Euro 2012 and was brought to the finals by Giovanni Trapattoni.

"He was a breath of fresh air," recalled the Dubliner.

"I'm not sure whether he had his Twitter account then. Listen, he was young, naive (and) maybe not a lot between the ears at times. He was obviously starting to earn money and he was going out and spending it in Poland, buying anything and everything.

"But that's why the likes of John O'Shea has looked over him over the years and Seamus (Coleman)and the squad. All the lads love him, he's a top pro.

"You can see away from the pitch he lives his life well, he doesn't drink or anything like that."

Irish Independent

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