James McClean urges patience amid 'cut-throat' media criticism of Ireland team

JAMES McCLEAN has called for 'patience' amid stinging criticism of the Republic of Ireland team and increasing pressure on under-fire manager Stephen Kenny.

By Simon Collins
Monday, 6th September 2021, 12:22 pm
Updated Monday, 6th September 2021, 12:24 pm
Ireland winger James McClean has hit out at the 'cut-throat' Irish media and defended manager Stephen Kenny.
Ireland winger James McClean has hit out at the 'cut-throat' Irish media and defended manager Stephen Kenny.

The Derry man hit out at the Irish media who, he reckons, is treating the team unfairly following Saturday's frustrating 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland needed a late Shane Duffy equaliser to salvage a point which ramped up the pressure on ex-Derry City and Dundalk boss Kenny with the country's World Cup playoff hopes dead in the water.

Despite a record of just one win in 15 games for the Boys in Green, the Dubliner has come out fighting in his pre-match press conference today ahead of tomorrow's home qualifier against Group A leaders Serbia.

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Kenny's tenure as Ireland boss has been hit by untimely Covid outbreaks and various disruptions and injuries to key personnel and McClean defended his ex-Derry manager in response to the 'cut-throat' Irish media's reaction to Saturday's performance.

“I tell them (teammates) to pay no attention because the media in Ireland is just as bad, if not worse than the media in England,” McClean said. “They get a kick out of us not doing well. It’s a shame, but as senior players we know how it works and we just need to tell them that’s how it is part and parcel of football.

“They should pay no attention. People are fickle. As soon as you start winning games you are the best in the world again. We need to start winning games and when we do, the criticism will start going away.

"Funnily enough the ones who have the bigger opinion have never kicked a ball in their lives.”

McClean, who himself was the subject of fierce criticism for his performances against both Portugal and Azerbaijan, believes victory over Serbia will quieten the discontent.

“I’ve been around for 10 years now, and nobody is going to convince me otherwise,” he said. "Sometimes it is fair and sometimes it isn’t. It’s my opinion and nobody is going to change that. It’s easier when you are not winning games.

“You’ve got young players and it is their first time playing international football. I don’t want to use that as a cop out.

“This is a manager who is in his first job in international football. We are going on a different path to what Irish teams have in terms of styles of football.

“When you take into consideration Covid. I’d ask for patience with them, but football is cut-throat. The media is harsh but when you are not winning games it falls on deaf ears.”