Sunderland’s James McClean tipped for Republic squad

There was growing speculation in soccer circles in Dublin last night that Sunderland winger James McClean, who’s from Derry, will be named in the Republic of Ireland panel this morning.

McClean became eligible to play for the Republic yesterday when FIFA completed his international clearance.

The former Derry City player has been creating headlines for his performances since breaking into the Sunderland team in the Premier under manager Martin O’Neill.

And his chances of getting into the squad for the friendly against the Czech Republic on February 29th improved when Aiden McGeady suffered a shin injury during a training session with his club Spartak Moscow in Spain.

An international call-up for McClean would also be good news for Derry City, who could stand to gain because of the terms of his sale to Sunderland.

Meanwhile Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP, reopened the debate over Northern Ireland losing footballers to the Republic by calling for a ‘higher discussion’ on the matter between the British and Irish governments.