MLS move good for James McClean's bank account, not his Ireland career 8 years ago

MLS move good for James McClean's bank account, not his Ireland career

James McClean is a wanted man - it feels like 2012 all over again.

New York Red Bulls and Orlando City - home to Kaka... and Sean St Ledger - want the Derry midfielder to boost their MLS chances.


McClean has regained his form, after an indifferent couple of seasons following Euro 2012. He was named Wigan's player of the year but was still unable to prevent The Latics from being relegated to League One.

The 26-year-old will certainly get offers from Championship clubs, this summer, but it is hard to see him secure a Premier League switch.

Ahead of his proposed talks with the MLS franchises, we weigh up the pros and cons of a possible Statesside switch.



UEFA Europa League First Qualifying Round 2nd Leg, Park Avenue, Aberystwth, Wales 10/7/2014 Aberystwyth Town vs Derry City Former Derry City players James McClean and Danny Lafferty watch the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Huw Evans

Higher standard: The MLS is improving year-on-year and is a much better competition than the often ponderous version that David Beckham signed up to in 2008. This can be seen in the performances of the national side and by the fact that marquee players, from Europe and South America, are now arriving in their early 30s, rather than for a year or two [Thierry Henry] before they retire. Still, Henry was no mug over in NYC.

He can teach them a thing or two: Like how to win a tackle and make a statement.


Dollar bills: McClean would stand to earn more money in the MLS [close to $1m per season] than he would earn at a Championship side.

Tackling social issues: McClean will be be far away from the poppy controversies that have been visited upon him in the past. However, social champion that he is, McClean can get his teeth into some of the issues that often blight the USA. For example, Obama-care, hydraulic fracking, bi-partisan politics, poor social welfare systems and the endangerment of the red wolf [also known as the Florida wolf].



A dejected James McClean 6/9/2013

Long way from home: As can be seen from his regular trips back to Derry, McClean is a home-bird. Unsettled with Sunderland at the beginning of 2012/13, the Black Cats signed Derry goalkeeper Eugene Ferry.

Ostensibly the move was so McClean could have a friend close by. McClean will not be able to get back and forth to Ireland as much as he will like to. However, perhaps we are selling McClean short. He is older, wiser and more tattooed now.

Out of sight, out of mind: Martin O'Neill, Roy Keane and co. have been excellent for getting around the UK to scout players and stay in touch with senior internationals.

Real Sociedad de Futbol v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League


By jetting off to the USA, McClean would surely hinder his international prospects. O'Neill can study video clips of McClean but getting a first-hand look at the midfielder would only benefit his chances of starting the big Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Dangerous food options: You only live once...

Air miles: Even if McClean's performances continue to merit international selection, he will have to go through a couple of long flights each time he travels for international games. That is before he jets off on away trips with Ireland. It is not ideal. However, once McClean is happy and performing well, he would surely not quibble with the trans-Atlantic excursions.


Pack your bags and see what the MLS has to offer. However, tell you agent to keep his ears open for an ambitious Championship side or a Premier League outfit looking for a hard-working wide-man.