Coyle ‘embarrassed’ by claims over injured James McClean
Wigan boss annoyed by rumours winger was dropped for refusing to wear poppy shirt
Wigan Athletic manager Owen Coyle Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Wigan manager Owen Coyle is “embarrassed” at claims that winger James McClean was dropped from the squad to face Yeovil on Sunday because he refused to wear a shirt embroidered with a poppy.
The Derry-born Republic of Ireland international winger, who moved to the Latics from Sunderland in the summer, received death threats and faced a storm of criticism last year after opting to wear an unmarked shirt against Everton in the run-up to Remembrance Day.
Rumours escalated on Sunday afternoon that McClean had been dropped from the Wigan squad over the issue, but former Republic of Ireland striker Coyle revealed he sustained a dead leg in training and had simply missed out due to injury.
Coyle said: “The only reason James McClean didn’t play today because he was injured, it’s as simple as that.
“He would certainly have been involved if he was fit. I’m never evasive and always up front, but I’m actually embarrassed that I’m getting asked that question in this day and age.”
Wigan claimed a 1-0 victory ay Huish Park against a Yeovil side that included McClean’s fellow Derry native Shane Duffy, who is on loan from Everton, and Dubliner Paddy Madden, who returned to the starting team following a three-game absence.
McClean is due to travel to Dublin on Monday to be reunited with his former Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill ahead of the upcoming double-header of friendlies against Latvia and Poland.
O’Neill will have to do without the services of Hull City winger Robbie Brady, who is still struggling with a groin injury.
Aston Villa’s Ciaran Clark is also out after picking up a foot tendon injury in the Premier League victory over Cardiff City at Villa Park, a game watched by Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane.
No additional players are being called up to the squad