Ryan Byrne/INPHO James McClean pictured during the Republic of Ireland's recent defeat to Luxembourg.
# Sidelined
O'Neill 'very disappointed' with Ireland as McClean's season looks to be over
‘Clearly we didn’t want him to go away on international duty and firmly believe that has hindered his recovery.

MICHAEL O’NEILL EXPRESSED his frustration over James McClean’s involvement in the Republic of Ireland’s recent fixtures after revealing that the Stoke City winger’s season is probably over.

McClean looks set to miss his club’s six remaining Championship fixtures, having suffered a recurrence of the heel injury that he originally picked up in February.

Despite not making an appearance at club level for five weeks, he played three times for Ireland in the space of seven days. Substitute outings in the defeats to Serbia and Luxembourg were followed by a start – and a goal – in the 1-1 friendly draw with Qatar.

After returning to Stoke, McClean came off the bench to play the final 14 minutes of Monday night’s loss at home to Millwall. However, his manager doesn’t expect to have him available again this season.

“James’ heel injury is still giving him a problem,” O’Neill Stoke City FC’s official website this afternoon. “He hasn’t been able to train since his brief cameo appearance for us on Monday and I’m disappointed with that.

“Clearly we didn’t want him to go away on international duty and firmly believe that has hindered his recovery, and we’re basically now back to square one in terms of where James is at with injury.

“It’s something that unfortunately we weren’t able to stop and we’re very disappointed [with] how he was handled whilst he was away on international duty.

“I don’t envisage that James will be available to play again for us this season.” 

McClean, who was Stoke City’s Player of the Year for 2019-20, has made 29 appearances this season for the Potters, who currently sit in 11th place.

Originally published at 15.13

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