Ankle injury could rule McClean out of action


James McClean could miss Sunderland’s game against Arsenal today after picking up an ankle injury while playing for Ireland during the week.

“I don’t think he complained about the injury so no blame attached,” said Martin O’Neill yesterday. “He played the 80 minutes, he came off and only after did the ankle start to really swell.”

Asked if McClean is showing signs of maturing, O’Neill replied: “No. He has gone back on Twitter, even against advice of the club. I have to say maybe he will look out for himself then.

“As long as he doesn’t start to talk about the football club, though, and use derogatory comments, then fine, and as long as he doesn’t swear.”

Referring to Ian Harte’s tweet about Giovanni Trapattoni last week, the former Northern Ireland international joked: “Do I expect to get a tweet calling me a clown? I wouldn’t be surprised. I dare him to do it.”

O’Neill, meanwhile, confirmed that Keiren Westwood had sought to get out on loan during the transfer window but denied that the goalkeeper had sought to leave permanently. He expressed sympathy for the player who has lost his number one status with Ireland because of his lack of regular first-team club football but, he said, he had to put the interests of Sunderland first.

“I don’t have a problem with players going out on loan,” he said, “as long as they play but it might be easier for outfield players to move things round. But not for a keeper and the teams that wanted him, wanted him not just for the month but for a sizeable time and we have only one other keeper so I might as well just put up the charity sign.”

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