McClean closes in on new deal
Sunderland are ready to tear up the three-year contract James McClean signed last summer and offer the young winger a deal that will see him more triple his basic £4,000-per-week wages.
Arthur Duffy reports
Black Cats manager Martin O’Neill wants the club to tie down McClean to a new-long term deal at the Stadium of Light and his paymasters are hoping to tempt him to commit his future to Wearside with a deal that will net him at least £15,000 per week.
The move reflects the rapid progress made by the Creggan Heights man since he moved to the English Premier League club last summer from Derry City and the former Brandywell favourite admitted it has all taken him by surprise.
“I came over expecting to be part of the development squad and just working hard and getting up to speed with the game but things have happened a lot quicker than I expected since making the move,” the 22-year-old said.
“But I’m definitely not complaining about it. I’m enjoying myself and my football. A lot of fans come and speak to me in Sunderland since I’ve started playing which is similar to back home in Derry and it’s nice to speak to supporters and listen to their views. It’s nice to get their praise as well.
“My family came over to watch against Middlesbrough the other week and it helps that they are making the trips over to watch me. It’s always great to see them, they can help me settle in the area and I’m loving it.
McClean might not have been able to force his way into the Republic of Ireland squad but he continues to go from strength to strength under O’Neill and his tenth consecutive appearance against Arsenal also yielded his fourth goal since the turn of the year.
Despite the sudden rise to fame, he insists that he finds it easy to keep his feet on the ground.
“It is something that I’m just trying to take in my stride,” McClean added. “I just wake up and try to do my best every day. Being in the first team hasn’t changed anything about me. I just try to do as well as I can in training.
“I came over here with the mind-set that I had faith in my ability and that I’d aim to get into the first team. I’ve done as well as I can for the reserves and had the opportunity to train with the first team.
“That has improved me as a player and I’m grateful for that. It’s going well, I’m playing with better players, which makes it easier. I’m really enjoying it.”
As for playing in front of packed houses in England, he is taking it all in his lengthy stride.
“On a good night I’d have played in front of 2,500 to 3,000 at the Brandywell but no matter what the size of the crowd is, though, I just have to blank it out and concentrate on my game,” he said.
“Of course you are aware of the fans and when you have 40,000 passionate fans cheering you on at the Stadium of Light it gives you that extra push and motivation. Sunderland fans, just like the Derry fans always were, have been tremendous to me.”
Duffy called into
Despite McClean’s surprise omission from Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland squad there will still be two Derry player on the panel after Everton’s Shane Duffy was called in as a replacement for the injured Richard Dunne.
The Aston Villa centre-half dislocated his shoulder after an awkward fall in Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League defeat against leaders Manchester City and the Ireland boss moved quickly to promote the young Derry man to the senior squad.
Speaking on his Twitter account after the call-up, the Galliagh man said he was delighted to have made the step up.
“I’m buzzing that I‘ve been called up to the senior squad,” said the Everton defender, “It’s a dream come true and I can’t wait to join up.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Derry
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west