One step backwards to move two steps forward

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HIS departure from Sunderland didn’t really come as a major shock, but I’m absolutely delighted to note that former Derry City winger, James McClean, appears to be back enjoying his football again.

Indeed, I watched the highlights of Sunday’s Community Shield Final at Wembley once I had been made aware that James would be starting the match for new club, Wigan Athletic against Manchester United.

And it was clear that the Creggan Heights man was keen to make an impression at Wembley and kick-start his career in England.

Indeed, I think the guidance of his new manager, Owen Coyle, will also prove to be invaluable over the forthcoming season and I’ve no doubt that the player’s decision to drop down to the Championship was the correct one.

There’s no doubt that James had experienced difficulties during his time at the Stadium of Light, more through niavety than anything else.

But he held his hands up admitting that those comments on Twitter were not appropriate at the time.

He’s also been involved in controversy at international level and, again, those comments were down to inexperience.

And having burst onto the scene when introduced by Martin O’Neill at Sunderland, McClean was on a high and he was always going to find it difficult to deal with situations which he had never faced in the past.

But life, as they say, is all about learning and now that the 24-year-old has moved onto pastures new, I feel he will be better positioned to deal with such issues in the future.

But back to matters on the pitch and I’m sure you will agree that during Sunday’s game, the winger enjoyed a prominent role against Manchester United.

And I would expect Owen Coyle to have nothing but praise for his new signing before substituting him during the second half.

The Creggan man will now focus on his international career having been selected to join Ireland for tomorrow night’s friendly international against Wales.

I also found it interesting to note that his new boss said that it was very rare to see a young player prepared to accept a drop in remuneration when moving to another club.

The Scot claimed that James had decided to “take one step backwards to make two steps forward” and I couldn’t agree more with those sentiments. It’s also my view that Wigan could well make an immediate return to the Premiership and should that be the case, then James’ decision will have been a positive one.

In relation to his international career, it’s vital that he is seen to be playing regularly in the Skybet Championship - I don’t think he will encounter too much trouble in commanding the left-sided role at the DW Stadium.