James McClean signs new deal at Wigan Athletic

Winger James McClean will not be returning to Derry City this summer.
James McClean has signed a new deal with Wigan Athletic.James McClean has signed a new deal with Wigan Athletic.
James McClean has signed a new deal with Wigan Athletic.

The 34-year-old, who was voted Wigan Athletic’s Player of the Year, has signed a new deal with Shaun Maloney’s men.

McClean, who is just two appearances away from 100 international caps for the Republic of Ireland, was a free agent this summer, but Wigan, who were relegated from the Championship a few weeks ago, announced that the Derry man had signed up for the 2032/24 campaign.

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The Creggan native becomes Wigan’s 44th Player of the Year, and only the fourth player to have ever won the award on more than one occasion.

McClean was an ever-present for Latics in the Sky Bet Championship, helping contribute towards 11 goals in 46 league matches and will be hoping to reach a century of international caps next month when Stephen Kenny’s side face Greece and Gibraltar in a Euro 2024 double-header.

Candy Stripes boss Ruaidhrí Higgins recently laughed off suggestions that his former team-mate would re-join his home town club during July’s transfer window.

“Of course there’s room for him! It might be more difficult to do than some think," he stated after Derry’s recent win at Bohemians.

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“I’ve spoken to him as I know him a long time, I took him under my wing when he was here as a player.

“But if James wants to take a 80 or 90 per cent wage cut then we might think about it.”

Higgins was part of Kenny’s Ireland back-room team before leaving to take the Derry job in 2021, so he knows exactly what 100 caps would mean to McClean.

“When he gets to 100 caps, amazing, nobody deserves it more than him,” added the Limavady man. “It would be an unbelievable achievement.”

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The talented left sided player, who was a Brandywell fans favourite between 2008 and 2011, before carving out an impressive cross channel career with Sunderland, Wigan, West Brom, Stoke City and now Wigan again, has made it no secret that he would love to finish his playing career with his home town club, but that won’t be any time soon.