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Dublin: 17 °C Saturday 21 September, 2019

Martin O'Neill wants 'wee chat' with James McClean

The Boys in Green boss has indicated that he would like to have a conversation with the West Brom winger over recent controversies.

IRELAND MANAGER Martin O’Neill hopes that he can speak with James McClean “as a coach” after the West Bromwich Albion midfielder found himself embroiled controversy over his response to the British national anthem.

The Derry native was pictured turning his body away from the flag of England and bowing his head while ‘God Save the Queen’ played at a recent pre-season friendly game in the United States, provoking the ire of commentators in mainstream and social media channels.

The Ireland boss, who managed McClean briefly while at Sunderland, did not offer his opinion on the furore, but indicated that he would try and “have a wee bit of a chat” with the 26-year-old.

“I’ll hopefully meet him in the next couple of weeks and just maybe have a wee bit of a chat to him,” O’Neill said.

“I’ll have a wee chat to him and see how he is. I like James a lot. I like him as a player, and I like him as a person. I’ll have a few words to him. Not in a paternal fashion, but as coach to player.”

Meanwhile, McClean has stoked further discontent from Unionist politicians in Ireland after wading into the contentious proposed name-change of his home town from Londonderry to Derry, tweeting that the city is “officially getting its rightful name back.”

“He has had a litany of political issues and a series of managers who have had words with him,” said Democratic Unionist Party MP Gregory Campbell.

“Less than a week ago he was in trouble with his manager for disrespecting the English flag and British national anthem, and now he has waded into controversy again. This time it isn’t something he was provoked into doing. This was something of his own making.

“He may have been able to explain treating the national anthem with disdain by saying he had to walk out with his team and he was put in a position he couldn’t avoid, but in this case there is no justification. He proactively sent a tweet and embroiled himself in politics yet again.”

Elsewhere, Kirk Broadfoot was found guilty of directing verbal sectarian abuse at McClean and must serve a lengthy 10-game ban for his actions.


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