McClean not dropped over Poppy refusal says boss

PA Wire

PA Wire

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Derry footballer James McLean’s boss at Wigan FC has denied the player was dropped at the weekend for refusing to wear a poppy.

McClean was absent from the match day squad on Sunday as his Wigan team faced Yeovil Town.

Wigan manager Owen Coyle said it was “embarrassing” to suggest McClean missed the game for anything but footballing reasons.

“James McClean wasn’t rested - the only reason he didn’t play today was because he was injured, it’s as simple as that,” Coyle said.

“He would certainly have been involved if he was fit. The bottom line is that he wasn’t. I brought James to this club from Sunderland, and I paid a lot of money for him because he’s an outstanding player. He’s been wonderful for me, he’s going to have a wonderful career and he is a great lad.”

In a post on his Facebook page on Saturday evening, when asked if he would be wearing a poppy McClean appears to have written: “Al (sic) go to my grave never wearing one.”

The Derry-born winger received death threats and faced a storm of criticism last year during his Sunderland days after opting to wear an unmarked shirt against Everton, rather than a shirt that included the British Legion poppy.