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'Warrior' James McClean played tonight with a torn back muscle

Ireland’s match-winner added that “playing for this country means everything”.

James McClean celebrates Ireland's win.
James McClean celebrates Ireland's win.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

AFTER SCORING THE winner against Austria this evening, James McClean revealed the lengths he went to in order to be part of the famous victory in Vienna.

Speaking to RTÉ, the West Brom winger revealed he had to recover from a torn muscle suffered last weekend in the build-up to the game.

“I went and got an epidural on Tuesday and it’s done wonders,” he said.

McClean finished clinically as Ireland earned a hard-fought win over group rivals Austria before being replaced in the dying minutes by Aiden McGeady.

“I’m delighted I managed to play for as long as I did,” he added.

“Playing for this country means everything. If there is a chance I can play I’m not going to shirk it.”

The Derry native, who Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has described as a “warrior,” also had high praise for substitute David Meyler.

The Hull midfielder replaced the injured Glenn Whelan on 24 minutes, and went on to impress, having a hand in the all-important winning goal, which earned the Boys in Green their first victory over the Austrians in 53 years.

First and foremost, it was great play by David Meyler, who I thought deserved the man of the match, but I’ll not complain.

“He’s done great to win the ball and play it to Wes. I knew when Wes got the ball if I make the right run he’s going to find me.

“Then it was just about making sure I hit the target.”

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‘When I come out with this group of lads it’s a privilege’: Coleman praises Ireland’s team spirit>

Player ratings: How the Boys in Green fared against Austria>

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Paul Fennessy

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