Football

James McClean Emphatically Rejects Klopp's Comments About Nations League

James McClean Emphatically Rejects Klopp's Comments About Nations League

Speaking to the press today ahead of Ireland's Nations League double header against Denmark and Wales afforded James McClean to warm to one of his favourite topics: his passion for international football.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp dismissed the UEFA Nations League as the "most senseless competition in football" after Sunday's draw with Manchester City, as most of his squad flew across the world to link up with their national squads.

When his comments were put to McClean earlier today, the Irish forward rolled his eyes and fixed a wry smile. "Well if Jurgen Klopp says it, it must be true, sure...".

It means everything to me, anyway. I couldn’t care less about what Jurgen Klopp says, to be honest.

It’s [Nations League fixture] a competitive game. There are points at stake, we want to do the best we can as it obviously affects you ging forward in terms of your seeding and rankings, and we will go into the game fully aware of that.

Elsewhere, McClean says that the media blew the dispute between Roy Keane and Harry Arter out of proportion. Arter has returned to the Irish squad for the upcoming games, as Martin O'Neill confirmed the lingering fallout to their verbal altercation earlier this summer has been relegated to the past.

"Two men having a row, that’s kind of unheard" was McClean's initial reaction to the question about Arter, and then said that the media made too big a deal of the incident. 

Yeah, they [the media] always do [make too big a deal of it]. It’s not as big a deal as it has been made out. So what, someone had a go at someone. We are all grown men at the end of the day, we get on with it. The harmony in the squad, if you ask the two lads, is good and has always been good.

It’s obviously not ideal that Harry didn’t show up to the last game, and I don’t agree with that: you’d have to put a gun to my head for me to consider not showing up to play for Ireland.

But he is here now. He is a teammate, he is here to play for Ireland and he has my backing 100%.

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Elsewhere, McClean said that Denmark's return to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night should not be viewed upon as a chance to exact vengeance. It is less than a year since Denmark scotched Irish hopes of qualifying for the World Cup with a 5-1 hammering of Ireland.

Regardless of the result on Saturday, says McClean, the scars of that night will never truly heal.

No matter how we play on Saturday against Denmark, even if we go out and trounce them, nothing will ever right the wrongs of that night, given what was at stake. It cut very deep and was very painful.

No matter the result on Satuday, that’s gone.

We have to let that go and we can’t go into the game thinking of it as a ‘revenge match’.

Ireland are without captain Seamus Coleman for Saturday's game, along with Stephen Ward and Jon Walters. Shane Long was uninvolved in training this afternoon, although is expected to be fit to face the Danes.

Denmark, meanwhile, are likely to be without talisman Christian Eriksen.

See Also: Doherty And Arter Make Cut As O'Neill Finalises Irish Squad

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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