SUNDERLAND WINGER JAMES MCCLEAN shut down his Twitter account last night after receiving death threats following his call-up to the Republic of Ireland Euro 2012 squad.
The Derry native was included in Giovanni Trapattoni’s 23-man panel on Monday afternoon, sparking a wave of sectarian abuse from some Northern Ireland fans angry with his decision to switch allegiances south of the border.
McClean, 23, won seven U21 caps for the North before he declared his wish to represent the Republic at senior level.
He made his senior debut as a substitute in February’s friendly against the Czech Republic and, after continuing to impress Trapattoni with his performances for Sunderland in the Premier League, made the cut for next month’s trip to Poland and Ukraine.
McClean immediately tweeted his delight following the squad announcement: “Absolutely honoured and couldn’t be happier to have been called up to represent my country at the Euros. No better feeling.”
One anonymous tweeter responded with a threat to shoot him, which was later deleted along with the account in question: “F**k up your dirty fenian bastard il make sure you get shot when you set foot back into gods country.”
Another abusive tweet, still visible on the site on Wednesday, said: “I hope your flight to Poland crashes you cunt. What a nice way to repay the association that brought you up as a player!”
McClean fired back a blanket response to the abuse on Monday, fanning the flames with a reminder that Northern Ireland did not qualify for the Euros, before finally taking the decision to shut the account yesterday.
“Love the dogs abuse am gettin of shock N.I fans, just worry about watchin ur own country at the euros… oh wait #mybad #awkward haha.”
A spokesperson for the FAI told RTÉ that “It’s a pity it has come to this, but it is maybe in his best interests in the short term.”