No doubt James McClean will excuse Salut! Sunderland for its earlier spot of fun at his and the rest of the Lads’ expense, suggesting the double-winning Sunderland Women’s Football Club squad might be sent on to face Man United on Sunday …
The only purpose of this little posting is to offer him our sincere and robust congratulations for a well-deserved call-up to Giovanni Trapattoni’s Irish squad for Euro 2012.
Were also delighted to see Keiren Westwood and John O’Shea included in the squad. It reflects well on Sunderland AFC but better still on the players concerned.
As Luke Harvey argued on these pages last week, the introduction of McClean when we played Blackburn Rovers at home on MON’s debut as manager, defeat staring us the face, was the catalyst to so much of what was good about the run that followed.
And as one of McClean’s legion of Twitter followers said today, go off and have a great tournament, James, and then come back and have an even greater SAFC season.
Safc.com reports James’s response: “I took the call from Mr Trappatoni this morning; it certainly wasn’t a bad wake up call to get! It’s been a fantastic year for me in football terms. Breaking into the Sunderland first-team was a huge step and then to make my debut for Ireland was just amazing.
“I’ve had an incredible few months, cementing my place in the team and acclimatising to the Premier League and winning the Supporters’ Young Player of the Year award, was a huge honour. To now be representing Ireland at a major championship is simply the stuff that dreams are made of.”
Here, for admirers of purple prose, is a reminder of how the Irish Independent recorded his debut in Irish colours, at home to Czech Republic:
The populist cry took an age to find the ears of Giovanni Trapattoni but, when it did, it was a sound that defied resistance.
For 79 minutes, James McClean’s night was confined to the idle banter of the waiting-room. He looked unperturbed. The TV cameras kept finding his smile, a big, square-jawed kid bending the ear of Seamus Coleman as the surgery door kept opening for others to stride through.
Trapattoni doesn’t manage by public consensus and only with four substitutes already deployed did he finally call the kid down to a great, gusting gale of approval. In his 10-minute cameo, McClean would look bright, alert and keen not to disappoint his Dublin audience.
Briefly, the deities even toyed with the notion of a fairytale, his low cross almost producing an 89th-minute winner for Jonathan Walters and, four minutes later, Vaclav Pilar pushing his unhelpful posterior in the way of a McClean pile-driver.