Sunderland and Republic of Ireland football star, James McClean, has become engaged to his long-term girlfriend, Erin Connor.
The Derry couple, who are now both based in Sunderland, told their families the good news during the Christmas holidays, while James was home briefly in the middle of a busy winter schedule of matches.
The couple got engaged around one month ago, James proposing with a stunning solitaire diamond ring picked out by himself.
No date has been set for the wedding, and the couple, who have been together for a couple of years, will have plenty on their plates for the foreseeable future. Erin plans to complete her nursing studies at Northumbria University, which she began in September of this year, and James is arriving at a high pressure point of his career after a hugely successful 2012.
The winger has made a big impact on the pitch this season, despite the Sunderland team struggling, and he is now a front-runner for first team selection in the Republic of Ireland squad.
Originally from Creggan, McClean’s career has progressed through Trojans, Institute, and Derry City before arriving at the Premier League side, and he will now have hopes of another successful season following Sunderland’s win over champions Manchester City on St Stephen’s Day.
McClean received high praise for his performance in the 1-0 win, and has been congratulated on his maturity off the pitch this season after past controversies relating to his comments on social networking sites.
Earlier this month, James was clearly in good spirits, challenging his friends to get over 300 ‘likes’ for a post on his Facebook page, in return for which he made a donation of £1,000 to the Foyle Hospice.