Football | 1 week ago

"He'll never forget his roots. Never, ever."

James McClean, the son of Derry, the leader of Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland's top goalscorer in this World Cup campaign was once just an average footballer with a bit of steel and a bit of toughness and a bit of bloody manic desire to make it.

The difference between James McClean and everyone else was that he wanted it and he wanted it bad.

So when others were drinking at the corner of Creggan shops, he was kicking ball against the shutters, refusing to take his eye off the dream and refusing to be held back.

From the kid who ran mad around the Heights chasing after any round piece of leather he could find to one of the country's finest products, McClean was cut out from the work that surrounded him, from the modesty and humility all around, and from the Irishness in the heart of Derry.

In a special documentary, SportsJOE went back to James McClean's roots to talk to the characters who shaped him most. From best friends and team mates, to his first coaches, to Stephen Kenny who bought and sold him at Derry City, this is where it all started for the man.

This is the making of James McClean.

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While you're here, check out the latest episode of #SportsJOElive where we had Irish legends Shay Given and Clinton Morrison on the couch!


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James McClean