JAMES McClean insists he is 'proud' to be recognised by the people of Ireland as he attended a 'memorable evening' back in his hometown of Derry to celebrate his recent RTE Sportsperson of the Year award for 2017.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, hosted a VIP reception in the Guildhall to honour McClean’s achievements with the Republic of Ireland on Sunday evening.
The Ireland and West Brom winger topped the public vote of RTE viewers in December following an unforgettable year where he captained Ireland for the first time and netted a memorable match winning goal against Wales in Cardiff.
The Mayor hosted James and his family in the Whittaker Suite where he described him as a ‘role model’ for young people in the City and District.
“I am delighted to welcome James McClean to the Guildhall and mark his outstanding achievement in being named RTE Sportsperson of the Year,” he said. “James has had a fantastic year for both his club West Brom in the English Premier League and internationally with the Republic of Ireland, winning his 50th cap and turning in a string of match winning performances.
“The dedication to his craft that has brought him from his own local club Trojans in Creggan, through the ranks of Derry City and on to the highest level in England is a fine example to any young sports person of what can be achieved with hard work and determination.
“Although he now lives in Birmingham in England, I know James, his wife Erin and their young family come home as often as their schedule allows and he is always generous with his time in giving back to his local community.
“On behalf of Council I would like to thank James for all the happiness he has brought local people with his performances on the pitch and his generosity off it and wish him well in his future career with club and country.”
James, who was a second half substitute in West Brom's Premier League game with Southampton on Saturday, added that it was a particularly special evening for him to be honoured in his home city.
"I am very proud to be recognised by the people of Ireland as RTE Sports Personality of the Year and this is a particularly special night to receive recognition in my home town as everyone knows how much being from Derry means to me. I'd like to thank the Mayor for hosting the event and to everyone who came along and made it a memorable evening."