James McClean announces retirement from international football with emotional message
The end of an era.
Republic of Ireland star James McClean has announced that he will retire from international football after the end of the 2023 season.
McClean who has earned over 100 caps for his country first made his debut 11 years ago, and has been a key part of the Ireland set-up ever since.
The Derry native has said that Ireland's friendly with New Zealand on Tuesday, November 21 will be his last ever in the green jersey.
James McClean releases statement to announce his retirement.
"On February 20th 2012, I received my first call-up to represent my country. In all honestly, hand on heart, there are no words that could do justice to that feeling.
"Since then, 102 caps, 11 goals and two European Championships.
"Now, 11 years later, I have come to a point, one that truth be told you never think is going to come but here we are, where I am announcing my retirement from international football at the end of the 2023 season.
"I have spoken with Stephen Kenny & the New Zealand match in November at the Aviva Stadium will be the last time that I will celebrate pulling on the green jersey as a player and give me a chance to say goodbye to the best fans in the world.
𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗝𝗶𝗺𝗺𝘆 💚
James McClean set to retire from international football
A centurion. A legend. 🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/ZqUjIFYyVg
— Ireland Football ⚽️🇮🇪 (@IrelandFootball) October 5, 2023
"It has the meant the absolute world and more to be able to pull on the green jersey with honour, step out onto a football pitch - especially at the Aviva Stadium - to represent our great country, standing singing Amhrán na bhFiann ready to go out into battle with your fellow countrymen.
"Nothing has ever come close. I gave absolutely everything I had of myself to ensure that I did the jersey, the fans and the country proud, and know that I never took it for granted each time. I hope that showed.
"It will be heartbreaking not to be involved beyond this year, but I feel now is the right time to step aside without any regrets. I lived my own and every young Irish footballer’s dream - and represented this country with pride.
"I want to thank all my managers - Giovanni, Martin, Mick and Stephen - for me giving me the opportunities; all my teammates; the staff, everyone from the coaching staff, right down to those at the hotel who looked after us; you, the Irish fans; and finally, a special thank you to my wife Erin for holding the fort back home with the kids - your unwavering and selfless support has allowed me to make the most of every second of my childhood dream.
"Thank you, Ireland - it’s been the biggest privilege and as always, an honour. James "
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