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23rd Aug 2018

James McClean reportedly involved in tunnel bust-up with new Stoke teammates

Patrick McCarry

Stoke lie 22nd out of 24 teams in The Championship after their opening four league games.

James McClean knew he was taking a punt going from West Brom to Stoke, but he fancied his chances of helping The Potters immediately return to the Premier League.

It is early doors in the Championship season but West Brom sit in seventh after two wins, a draw and a defeat. Stoke are winless and one point clear of bottom-placed QPR. Wednesday at the Britannia Stadium saw them lose 3-0 to Wigan and start fighting among themselves. McClean was reportedly involved in the unsavoury half-time incident.

Wigan were 2-0 up by half-time and McClean had already picked up a booking for dissent shown towards the referee, after he had missed a hand-ball. The Ireland international was fortunate, then, that the match officials were not in the tunnel as several Stoke players tore into each other just after jogging off the pitch.

McClean, according to reporters at the game, had to be restrained from getting to Jack Butland in the tunnel. The Stoke and England goalkeeper looked to have shouted something in the direction of McClean, who took exception to the remarks.

Stoke boss Gary Rowett was questioned about the altercation after his side’s loss. In his match report for The Telegraph, John Percy wrote, ‘Rowett also admitted there had been a bust-up at half-time between goalkeeper Jack Butland, captain Ryan Shawcross and James McClean.’

Rowett, himself, commented:

“When you’re not winning games everybody gets a bit edgy and frustrated. We’ve got to take collective responsibility, it’s no good fighting between ourselves.”

As for the game itself, McClean started well and looked lively but, like so many of his teammates, faded once Will Grigg made it 3-0 with his second goal.

Next up for Rowett’s side is a home tie against Hull City, on Saturday. We’re not even in September yet and that game is already looking like a must-win fixture.

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