McClean: Patriot or Problem?

The Derry man is never backward in coming forward!!!

Far be it for me to cast stones, but love him or loathe him, James McClean certainly knows how to make the news.

The Stoke City winger weighed in last night on the Declan Rice allegiance debate in typical McClean fashion – taking to Twitter to support the comments of BBC pundit Kevin Kilbane, who spoke out against the young West Ham centre-half’s decision to take time to consider his international future.

The fact that McClean, himself, had his own international change of heart at the beginning of his professional career, adds it’s own dollop of galling irony to the whole affair.

He’s got every right to his opinion, of course, but sometimes you just have to look on and cringe.


No ‘ifs or buts’. McClean is a talented footballer. A tricky winger who will run all day, who can deliver a ball, arrive late on the back post and can rasp one from twenty five yards. He is one of a dying breed who throwback to the good old days were 100% all-in, was 100% all-in. A player with heart, and honesty, who will give all for the badge whenever given the opportunity. The type who is revered at home as much as derided away.

The question surrounding McClean always has been, and evidently, will continue to be, the hindering baggage that comes with him, and the damage it causes – to club and country alike, but also to the aspirations of the man himself.

For time and time again, McClean’s professionalism is, quite rightly, called into question.

We aren’t talking about wearing a poppy on your shirt, to be clear. Anyone who thinks that the man should be forced to wear a political symbol on his work attire, against his will, is an idiot. Anyone who voices said opinion is more moronic again.

But McClean has to accept that all of us in a professional capacity have to live by a certain set of rules – professional footballers, arguably, more than most.

Taking to Twitter to stick it to what has, and could well continue to be, an international team-mate? Does that fall beneath the professional standard required in most international squads, Martin O’Neill?

Taking to Twitter, to deliberately become embroiled in what are, for all intents and purposes, sectarian fuelled spats with fans of Rangers, Northern Ireland. Linfield, whoever? He may not initiate them, but engaging in them – does that fall beneath the professional standard required by most professional football clubs, and work places alike?

Openly airing political or religious affiliations at every, single given opportunity, in a public domain? Does that fall beneath professional standards?

My fear is that McClean has, throughout his career, used the relative comfort of being a professional soccer player to continue to act in a manner that most top professionals don’t feel they have to act in.

And for what?

What advantage has he he ever derived out of all this?

And what advantage will Martin O’Neill or any of the thirty other members of that squad to play Wales and Poland take from him being in the news?

Do us all a favour pal.

Get off Twitter. Do what you’re good at. Get up and down that wing. Fire in crosses and shots. Do your charity work. Be a hero for Derry or whoever it is you want to be a hero for.

You’ll be as much a legend for that as you are for turfing out any team-mate, fan, or journalist.





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