'That Tournament Shattered My Confidence'

'That Tournament Shattered My Confidence'

It's just over four years since James McClean made his Ireland debut.

The first time the Derry man pulled on the green jersey was in a friendly against the Czech Republic.

McClean was a real bolter for the Ireland Euro 2012 squad. The Derryman had only signed for Sunderland that season, making his debut under then Black Cats manager Martin O'Neill in December.

Such was his form, months later Giovanni Trapattoni had to include him in his panel for the Euro 2012 build-up friendlies.

One would have thought the meteoric ascent through the ranks would have been a major boost for McClean's self-belief. Perhaps, initially, it was. However, the 26-year-old told the Derry Journal that the tournament 'shattered' his confidence.

He played just 15 minutes at Euro 2012, that time on the pitch came during the nadir of Ireland's tournament - the 4-0 loss to Spain.

Looking back at the Euros in 2012, I went into the tournament at that time in the form of my life.

That tournament shattered my confidence a lot after that because I felt I should have been playing. I ended up playing the last 15 minutes or so of the whole tournament.

The man who picked the team didn’t see me as being in the first XI even though I believed I should have been. I didn’t always agree with the manager but I had to respect his decisions and that hit my confidence a bit.


Despite having picked McClean for the Euro 2012 squad, Trapattoni's relationship with the winger was fractious. After an anemic 2-1 win against Kazakhstan the following September, McClean tweeted something he subsequently regretted.

Delighted as a fan we got the win. Personal level #fuming #fuckinjoke #embarrassing.

Come this summer, McClean - a favourite of Martin O'Neill's who is highly likely to make the squad - feels circumstances are going to be different.

This time is different. In 2012, I didn’t really feel part of the squad because I wasn’t involved in any of the qualifiers.

I made a late push and got there but this year I’ve been involved in all the qualifiers and I can’t wait to get there now.

Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE

PJ Browne
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