James McClean spoke about poppies today in a revealing interview with the Irish Independent's Vincent Hogan.
Every November for the last three years, McClean has hit the headlines over his continued refusal to wear a poppy. The abuse on social media reached epidemic levels in 2012, after the Sunderland-Everton fixture when he was the only player on pitch not sporting a jersey that had a poppy stitched into it.
McClean told Hogan that he wished to explain his stance to the Sunderland supporters when the controversy first broke in 2012. However, the club advised him against doing so.
Two years later, while at Wigan Athletic, he wrote a much-praised open letter to then chairman Dave Whelan - a Thatcher supporting Tory, no less.
McClean reckons the controversy could have been 'nipped in the bud' two years before that had Sunderland allowed him to break his silence on the issue.
You can read the rest of the interview here.