Martin O’Neill backs Derry’s James McClean for Stoke City move

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill in conversation with Derry's James McClean
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill in conversation with Derry's James McClean

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has backed James McClean to make the switch from West Bromwich Albion to Stoke City.

O’Neill was speaking after the Creggan man was linked with a move to the Potteries over the weekend.

James McClean

James McClean

It was reported that Stoke made a bid of £4 million for the winger, but West Brom were holding out for £6 million.

The 29-year-old was relegated with the Baggies this past season. Yet, he could have moved during the season when new Stoke manager Gary Rowett was manager of Derby County.

McClean wasn’t a regular starter at the beginning of the season before becoming a key player under Darren Moore as the club picked up form towards the end of the campaign.

O’Neill is keen for the player to get regular football.

“I think that particular manager when he was at Derby tried to buy him in January and for one reason or another it didn’t materialise,” he said.

“I think James would feel this was a chance with a manager who liked his contributions to games and who could give him that opportunity to play more matches.

“If that’s the case, I’m sure he’s definitely in favour of that. James is one of those players who definitely needs to play matches.

“While he’s very, very fit, that would certainly give him a certain match sharpness that he needs, that all players need.”

McClean, who has 59 caps, started in Ireland’s 2-0 defeat to France. They face the United States on Saturday.