Ireland international James McClean reveals he’s been diagnosed as autistic

The 33-year-old posted on social media: ‘It’s been a bit of a journey and now having a diagnosis I feel it’s time to share it’

Republic of Ireland international James McClean has revealed on social media he’s been diagnosed as autistic.

The Wigan winger says he noticed similar traits in himself after his daughter Willow Ivy was diagnosed as autistic four years ago, which led to him getting an autism spectrum disorder assessment.

The 33-year-old Derry native, who is approaching 100 caps for Ireland and came off the bench in Monday night’s 1-0 defeat to France, detailed his diagnosis in a social media post on Tuesday.

“As you all know, my daughter Willow-Ivy is autistic,” McClean wrote. “The last four years have been life changing in the most amazing way but also very difficult at times as her daddy watching her overcome so many obstacles in her life and learning how to manage the challenges she faces on a daily basis.


“The more Erin (his wife) and I learned about autism the more we began to recognise I was very similar to Willow in more ways than we thought. I see so many small traits in her that I see in myself. So I decided to go and get an ASD assessment. It’s been a bit of a journey and now having a diagnosis I feel it’s time to share it, for the week that’s in it.

“I have debated for a while going public in sharing this as I’ve done this for Willow-Ivy, to let her know that I understand and that being autistic won’t and should never hold her back from reaching her goals and dreams.”

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times