James McClean launches scathing attack on Derry City manager Kenny Shiels
The West Brom star said he had decided to “hold his tongue” on Shiels’ “silly and stupid” comments until the Brandywell side had secured a highly respectable third place finish in the Airticity League Premier Division last weekend.
Now, the Creggan man has let rip at Shiels who recently made his feelings known on international football.
In some interviews, the Derry boss described the Republic of Ireland as ‘England Reserves’ adding that the Northern Ireland team were ‘England’s Reserves, Reserves!’
Shiels also said he believed that “international football is not what it used to be” and that there was “no pride in it any more because, once you have had a pint of Guinness, you could play for Ireland!”
The Derry manager, referring to past and current members of the Irish squad, added: “There are Italians and Scottish people playing for Ireland.”
Since taking over the managerial reins at the Brandywell, Shiels’ success in not only bringing young players through the ranks, but also finishing in third spot in the league, has been very impressive.
However, the Magherafelt man rarely shirks an opportunity to engage in mind games with members of the local and national Press when being interviewed.
And, following Friday night’s victory over Sligo Rovers, McClean felt it was time to “educate” the manager of his home town club.
“I’ve become frustrated and very disappointed reading some of the silly and stupid comments made by Kenny Shiels in the media,” McClean said.
“I remain a dyed in the wool Derry City fan. I really enjoyed representing the ‘Candy Stripes’ and to have successfully battled my way through to play international football for my country makes me feel particularly proud,” said the player.
“What right or what credentials does Kenny Shiels hold to make such ridiculous comments on international football. For me, playing in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in front of thousands of people and wearing that green jersey means so much to me and my team-mates.
“I feel very proud and very fortunate to have been given an opportunity to wear that jersey. I do everything in my power to give 100 per cent when wearing it, so how dare Kenny Shiels make such ridiculous comments when he knows very little about playing international football.”
McClean also urged Shiels to do more research when making comments on the current Republic of Ireland team.
“He said Italians and Scottish people play for Ireland, but so do players such as David Forde, Seamus Coleman, Wes Hoolohan, Stephen Ward, Daryl Murphy and myself, players who graduated through local League of Ireland football.
“Talk is cheap, but every local player harbours an ambition to play at the highest level possible. I think Kenny Shiels has done himself no favours with these insulting outbursts regarding international football.
“He’s actually been laughed at and ridiculed on television following the comments and I don’t believe a Derry City manager should be viewed as a comedian.
“I’ve noticed that he likes to make the headlines with some silly interviews before and after games, but I’m not prepared to let him belittle the strides Irish players have made in their careers by going on to represent their country. These are proud moments for the vast majority of players and moments that young players, such as myself, have long dreamt about.”
Despite voicing his disappointment on what the Derry City boss had said, McClean did extend congratulations to all those involved at his home town club on enjoying what he says is “significant success” during the 2016 campaign.
“I was very surprised, but delighted, that Derry finished in third spot. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve exceeded my expectations as I felt a mid-table finish would have been respectable. But the team has clearly punched above its weight and is fully deserving of such a high placed finish.
“I’ve been over quite a few times, watching games both at the Brandywell and in Dublin, and, while I was impressed at the way the lads played, I didn’t think they would finish in the top four, so fair play, it’s been a great season for all those involved at the club and I wish them all the very best.”
McClean also noted at Kenny’s son, Dean, was now a member of the Premier Division winning Dundalk squad and, indeed, has been capped by Northern Ireland on 14 occasions.