James McClean 'calls it how he sees it' with opinion on current Ireland squad 3 months ago

James McClean 'calls it how he sees it' with opinion on current Ireland squad

"I’m going to call it how I see it."

James McClean is now retired from the Republic of Ireland international team, which means he is free to share his opinion on the current squad of players.

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After 100 caps and more than a decade of representing Ireland, there are few people more qualified to give their opinion on where Irish football is right now.

Speaking after his final game in the green jersey, McClean shares his take on the current crop of players.

"I’m going to call it how I see it. There is so much ability here. These lads are young – that’s not making excuses for them. International football is a whole different level.

"These will get better with experience and with that experience, I’ve no doubt that down the line, these lads will bring the glory days back – and when I say glory days, I mean qualifying for major tournaments.

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‘They just need to believe in themselves because the ability is there, it’s just getting that consistency and doing it every single game, and I’ve no doubt that will come with experience."

James McClean has no doubt which game was his favourite in an Ireland jersey.

The Derry native ddidn't have to think twice when it came to picking his one favourite match in an Ireland jersey, and it's of course that famous night at Euro 2016.

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"That night in Lille when we beat Italy was, I’ve said this before, I wish you could bottle that because if you could bottle that and sell it, you’d be laughing. Absolutely phenomenal.

"It’s been absolutely amazing. From the second I stepped on the pitch against the Czech Republic in 2012, the fans here in the stadium have been absolutely phenomenal, home and away.

"That was something again that was very special. I pride myself on how your nearest and dearest, your team-mates, view you as a person and tonight that showed how they viewed me.

James McClean on what he will miss most about playing for Ireland

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Big nights, big games, the jersey - there are so many reasons that McClean will miss playing for his country, but ultimately it's the people that he will moss more than anything.

"I’ve struck up some great relationships with the lads over the years and it’s something that I will miss, the camaraderie around the squad and going into battle with these lads.

"I think this is the right time to go. Not many people get to go out on their terms. I’ve had the absolute time of my life. I’ve achieved so much. Beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve had my time.

"The lads were saying tonight, ‘Why didn’t you cry? I would have cried’. But I don’t see the need to cry because like I said, I had the time of my life. I’ve had so many happy memories and it’s been an absolute honour."

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