Kevin Doyle, who captains Ireland for just the second time, when they play Oman at Craven Cottage this evening has said that James McClean’s Twitter own goal has, paradoxically, helped integrate him better into the squad.
“We found about it pretty much straight away and we said it to him straight away — that it’s not acceptable,” said Doyle of the explosive tweet which was posted from the team bus after the narrow win in Kazakhstan.
“He knew that as well and realised it within minutes. He tried to delete it and I think he’s shut down his Twitter now and everything, which should be a help to him. But he was massively apologetic.
“We ended up the next day joking about it, which is good because it’s probably helped him integrate into the group a bit more because we’ve all been taking the piss out of him for the last few days. I feel sorry for him now because it was just a rush of blood to the head.”
Referring to the squad’s traditional initiation rite, Doyle said: “We were thinking of getting him to sing again in front of the group, that made him nervous enough the first time. Was he any good? No. That’s why we were going to make him do it again. I think he nearly cried, never mind sing — a few of the lads find it quite traumatic when they have to stand up in front of us. So that would have been good punishment for him.
“He’s had such a massive rise in the last six months and has come such a long way in a short period of time. And all the stuff at his fingertips, the world of Twitter and everything — to deal with that stuff is not easy at his age. This will help him. In the short term, it’s not been great for him for a few days but in the long term it will make him a better person.”
Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey, meanwhile, has paid tribute to Doyle’s commitment, confirming there was solid interest in the striker from Premier League clubs over the summer.
Boss Stale Solbakken revealed Doyle never once asked to leave the club following their relegation from the Premier Division, and Moxey has confirmed Doyle, 28, shunned the advances of a couple of top-flight clubs — believed to be Aston Villa and Everton — to remain in the Black Country.
“The big positive for us with Kevin was that he never fell into that category of ‘I want away’,” Moxey said.
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