EUROPA League football plus the fact that Wigan are considered favourites to make an immediate return to the Premiership, convinced James McClean that a move to DW Stadium was the right one for him.
And while the Creggan man accepted the view that some would suggest a step down to the Championship would not be in his best interests, “Latics” boss, Owen Coyle, convinced him he needed a change.
“I really do believe this is the right move for me,” insisted James last night.
“Obviously things had gone wrong for me at Sunderland. I’m fully aware that I made mistakes and while I would also admit to losing my confidence, I certainly wasn’t enjoying my football,” he added.
“I’ve already held my hand up admitting the mistakes I’ve made, but I also believe I’ve learned from those experiences and moved on.
“The move to Wigan is the right one but I will have regrets leaving Sunderland. I had many good times and played with some fantastic players. I’ve made many friends, particularly among the playing staff and I will miss them.
“John O’Shea has always been a great friend to me and I will miss his guidance and advice. I have no problems with the club that gave me the chance to prove myself when playing at the top level,” he added.
Once his agents had made him aware that an undisclosed offer from Wigan had been accepted by the “Black Cats,” McClean took up the opportunity to meet Owen Coyle who, incidentally, has visited Brandywell Stadium in the not too distant past.
“I’ve had a good discussion with the manager and he outlined his plans for the future. We talked about what he expected of me and his hopes to make a quick return to the Premier League.
“I was very impressed with his plans and I realised that a move to Wigan may be just what’s needed to get me back enjoying playing football again.
“The fact that Wigan won the FA Cup last season and now have the Europa League to look forward to was also a big factor for me as I want to play in Europe.
“But the fact that the manager had kept so many of his players from last year together, players who had played in the Premiership was also important,” noted James.
A long standing Manchester United supporter, James did not ignore that Wigan would be playing the “Red Devils” in Wembley Stadium this Sunday in the Community Shield.
“I’m not sure if I will be involved, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” he laughed. “Hopefully I will be part of the travelling squad.
He realised he could take nothing for granted: “I’ve learned at Sunderland than you can’t take anything for granted at this level. I realise I must put my head down and work hard to establish myself and, hopefully, get into the first team.
“I’m 24, I believe I have something to offer and I’m keen to keep my place in the Ireland team but I must secure regular football if I’m to do that,” he concluded.