James McClean hits out at Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
JAMES McClean has hit out at Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp after the German criticised the UEFA Nations League competition.
The Derry man took exception to Klopp's labelling of the international tournament as the 'most senseless competition in the world', claiming he 'couldn't care less what Jurgen Klopp says'.
The mini-league format has replaced the majority of international friendlies with Ireland set to face Denmark at home on Saturday before hosting Wales at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday.
"We're here to play for our country," said McClean. "It doesn't matter whether it's a friendly, a UEFA Nations League (game) or a qualifier. It means something. It means everything - well, to me anyway.
"I couldn't care less what Jurgen Klopp says, to be honest. I'm here to represent Ireland and that means everything."
The outspoken Stoke City winger also had his say on the high profile dispute between Ireland midfielder, Harry Arter and assistant boss, Roy Keane.
Arter returned to the Ireland camp after missing the opening Nations League defeat to Wales but McClean reckons he was 'wrong' to step away adding you would 'have to put a gun to my head for me not to come and play for Ireland'
"Everyone is different. I don't mind the tough approach," he said of Keane's no-nonsense coaching style. "I like to think I'm capable of giving it back myself.
"It will take more than a rollicking to stop me from playing for Ireland. Everyone is pampered nowadays. Look at the young players coming through there's no fear-factor whatsoever.
"I remember going into the Sunderland dressing room looking around there was John O'Shea, Wes Brown and this and that but everyone sat quiet.
"I was finding my feet the same when I came with Ireland I had a lot of respect. Young lads now you can't say boo to them you can't play practical jokes. It's different now.
"There's that many anti-this and anti-that. Everybody has got a problem with everything. You just can't do anything nowadays without someone taking offence to it. The generation now are different."
McClean is still getting used to the restricting cast on his broken wrist but insists he's ready to return to the fold for the visit of the Danes who ran riot in a 5-1 victory in the 2018 World Cup play-off, the last time they were in Dublin.
"I have a soft cast underneath it. It's not the most protective thing in the world but if it gets me playing then that's all that matters. I've had tackles the last few games and I've learnt how to fall on it now so there are no issues."