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  • James McClean: No higher honour than playing for your country

    James McClean: No higher honour than playing for your country

    By: Mark Henderson on 19 Dec, 2017 12:01

  • CELTIC fan James McClean has been named RTE Sportsperson of 2017 after his inspirational performances for the Republic of Ireland in their World Cup qualifying campaign.

    The winger scored four goals for Martin O’Neill’s side in their group, including a memorable winner away to Wales which sealed their spot in the play-offs.

    And while reaching the finals proved a bridge too far for Ireland, with Denmark triumphing over the two legs to secure their passage to Russia, McClean’s dynamic and courageous displays during the qualifiers saw him top the public vote and collect the prestigious accolade on Sunday night.

    Speaking exclusively in the Celtic View Christmas Special, the 28-year-old revealed how much it meant to him to represent his country and to play under former Hoops boss Martin O’Neill.

    “Playing for your country is the greatest honour you can have in football,” he said. “Growing up a Celtic fan during the Martin O’Neill era was special and for him to become my manager at club level – I remember when he was announced as manager at Sunderland, I was just in awe, someone who I had idolised was becoming my manager.

    “It was just surreal and I struck up a good working relationship with then, and now to play for my country and for him to be my manager as well is extra special.

    “I was lucky to play once at Celtic Park for Ireland and the result was unfortunate as we lost 1-0 to Scotland, but to play at Celtic Park was unbelievable. If I could do that one day wearing a Celtic jersey then it might even top doing that for Ireland."

    Find out who James McClean's Celtic hero was growing up, and why he and Kieran Tierney have become friends. The full and exclusive interview with the Derry Bhoy is ONLY in the Christmas issue of the Celtic View. On sale now.

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