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12th Jun 2024

James McClean hints at return to international football

Callum Boyle

James McClean

McClean retired in November, 2023

James McClean has hinted that he may be willing to discuss a return to international football.

McClean retired from the Irish national team last November after a friendly against New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium.

However the Wrexham winger revealed that his relationship with then-manager Stephen Kenny broke down after claiming he was “disrespectful” about the move to the League One side.

“He couldn’t get off the phone quick enough,” said McClean on telling Kenny about his move to the Welsh club in April.

“That spoke of what he thought about the move. I don’t think he was on board. Ultimately, I would say that was a major factor in my decision to step away from Ireland.

“Sometimes when you make a decision, you are made to walk the plank. I felt that if I don’t walk away now, I may never get the opportunity to say goodbye on my terms.

“I thought it was very disrespectful. I had offers to stay in the Championship but at my age I wanted to do something that would excite and be a challenge.”

McClean opens up on return to Ireland

During an appearance on RTÉ for coverage of Ireland’s defeat away at Portugal, the 35-year-old said the door was still ajar for him,

“If that call comes I’ll have a better answer in my mind. A little bit,” he said.

“At the time I didn’t want it to take away from the occasion.

“Look, I don’t want to sound spoiled. I had my family there. Most people don’t get to sign off on their terms. But I had between November and March to think. And I think: ‘did I take the easy way out because I got to sign off on my terms?’ But while you’re still playing, you’re always thinking that you can still contribute.

“Maybe I’ve done that too soon. But until that call comes… I’ll know then. I haven’t come so far.”

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