The Republic of Ireland's James McClean grabbed his first goal for Stoke City yesterday afternoon as the Championship club defeated Hull City 2-0. Prompting his manager Gary Rowett to praise the Irish winger for his contribution, the Derry native delivered the kind of performance Irish fans are only all too aware of.
After a difficult spell with West Bromwich Albion last season in which the club were relegated from the Premier League, the opening few games of McClean's spell with Stoke didn't appear all too promising.
Picking up only 2 points from their opening four games in the Championship, the introduction of James McClean scarcely appeared to ease their woes. Against Preston North End, McClean was found wanting as his international teammate Graham Burke grabbed his opening goal in the division.
Following that, Rowett confirmed that a bust-up between McClean and the Stoke City 'keeper Jack Butland had taken place during the club's 3-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic.
However, in grabbing his first goal for the club in their first win of the season, Rowett was keen to praise McClean:
He's an easy player to sometimes criticise, and I know in his first few games he's not performed as he would have liked, but one thing you cannot criticise James McClean for is his commitment.
Anyone who has spent the last five or six years watching McClean in the Irish jersey can surely attest to that. Commitment is certainly something the winger does not lack.
Calling on a particular instance of McClean's play in yesterday's win, how many of these moments have been witnessed in the Aviva Stadium or elsewhere over that time?
In fact, I think McClean sums us up. About 75 minutes into the game, they're down to 10 men, we're 2-0 up and he sprints back 60 yards to atone for one of his team-mates' errors and makes a last-ditch tackle. He did that to help the team out, and I want more of that. For me, we haven't got enough of those players in the building. They're the type of people we want because hard work will always get rewarded.