James McClean's BBC interview has today earned the Republic of Ireland international acclaim across English football. The West Bromwich Albion winger has been a controversial figure in the Premier League, his refusal to wear the poppy on Remembrance Sunday leading to a breakdown in his relationship with the club who then employed him, Sunderland. McClean has since argued that he was hung out to dry by the press people at Sunderland, who did not allow him the opportunity to publicly explain his decision not to wear the poppy.
He was booed by his own fans afterward, ultimately leaving the club on very poor terms. Now, on the weekend that his former club could be relegated from the Premier League after a ten-year stay, McClean is safe in the Premier League's mid-table, and has reflected on his career to date.
During the course of a 13-minute broadcast interview, McClean spoke of the shocking incidents which led to his leading Sunderland, his receiving death threats for expressing political opinions, how his tweets have been blown out of proportion, and how he almost joined New York Red Bulls before the opportunity to play under Pulis at West Brom materialised. He also spoke movingly about the late Ryan McBride, to whom he paid tribute during the Republic of Ireland's recent World Cup Qualifier with Wales, and the influence growing up in Derry has had on his career.
Here he is, in conversation with the BBC's Juliette Ferrington, on Football Focus ahead of West Brom's Premier League game with Leicester City.
James McClean BBC Interview
Extremely impressive from the Republic of Ireland international.