O'Neill to admonish McClean
SOCCER:SUNDERLAND WINGER James McClean will be told to take greater responsibility for his career after risking his international future in a Twitter outburst.
The 23-year-old Republic of Ireland international incurred the wrath of his team-mates last week when he hit out on the social networking site at manager Giovanni Trapattoni’s decision to leave him on the bench during the 2-1 World Cup qualifier victory in Kazakhstan.
He has since issued a humble apology to both the 73-year-old Italian and the rest of the Republic squad and closed down his Twitter account, and played the final 30 minutes of Tuesday night’s 4-1 friendly victory over Oman at Craven Cottage.
However, Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has revealed the matter will be discussed further on his return to Wearside and the player will be told in no uncertain terms what is required of him.
O’Neill said: “James has been acting rather strangely. It’s good when the player not only wants to play, but he also wants to manage the team as well.
“James is rather young for that at the moment. I think Mr Trapattoni has got a couple of years on him and a couple of titles too in front of James, so I think he’s entitled to pick the team.
“He has even admitted himself he has been rather foolish. He has taken himself off Twitter, apparently then he might have a situation with Facebook as well and about 14 other accounts that he has. He has a bit of a problem and we will have to rectify it . . .”
Referring to his club’s policy on such matters, he added: “He does know the rules – they were read to him, they were given to him, he was there that day – and not only that, some of his language was pretty poor and we will have to deal with that.
“Genuinely, we can have a laugh about it first of all, but now it’s getting a bit ridiculous.”
It is not the first time McClean, who has described his own behaviour as “stupid” and “idiotic”, has landed himself in hot water with his postings on Twitter. The Derry man became the target of abuse after tweeting about his decision to represent the Republic rather than Northern Ireland.
O’Neill admitted the latest incident is a further lesson to young players on how they should conduct themselves as they attempt to make their way in the game.
“This here is a situation where James has got a lot to really learn. He has got to temper everything and he has got to rein in . . . He has to show some responsibility now.”
McClean will hope for a chance to redeem himself further tomorrow evening when Liverpool head for the Stadium of Light in their first game since the publication of the explosive independent report into the Hillsborough tragedy in which 96 fans died.
Republic of Ireland striker Simon Cox could feature for Notts Forest this weekend after the club revealed the foot injury he sustained in the closing minutes of Tuesday’s win over Oman at Craven Cottage is far less serious than had initially been feared. An X-ray has since revealed that the problem is only a minor strain.
The FAI is reported to have approached 27-year-old Norwich City goalkeeper Mark Bunn about the prospect of declaring for Ireland. The London-born player qualifies for Ireland on the basis of his grandmother.