West brom backing James McClean, says skipper Darren Fletcher

Republic of Ireland winger James McClean has been given a vote of confidence by West Brom captain Darren Fletcher. McClean has been at the centre of controversy again after turning away from the English flag during the anthem before Albion’s recent pre-season friendly in America against Charleston Battery.

West brom backing James McClean, says skipper Darren Fletcher

But Fletcher cannot speak highly enough of the former Sunderland and Wigan wide-man, who sparked controversy before when refusing to wear a poppy on his shirt.

Fletcher said: “He doesn’t want to cause upset, he has got his beliefs about a lot of things but he is not a troublemaker, he hasn’t done anything to cause trouble, he has not done any harm to anyone. I have got a bit of an insight into it because my mum is Irish and I have got family in Derry. It’s a real sensitive subject. He’s got strong beliefs and it is great that he has those beliefs. After the (Charleston) incident, the rest of the media can have their opinion, that’s fine.

“The rest of the football fans around the country can have their opinion but the most important thing I can do is relay to the fans how good a guy he has been.”

West Brom fans cheered McClean during their friendly clash with Swindon last weekend. “To hear that from the Albion fans on Saturday against Swindon, that was great for him,” said Fletcher.

“I was really pleased to hear it and I’m sure it was a real confidence booster for him because he is aware of it. He has not caused anyone any harm, the fans got behind him at the weekend and that speaks volumes of the Albion fans and I hope that continues.

“James has been brilliant, he has settled into the squad fantastically, showed a great attitude. He is a really popular member of the dressing room.

“He is one of the best athletes I have seen in terms of stamina and running he is an absolute machine. I can’t speak highly enough of him and his attitude — the way he has trained and played and the way he has been off the pitch.

“I think he is going to be a real good player and a great addition to the squad. For how much the club picked him up for, I think he will be a real bargain.” Meanwhile the Baggies have agreed a deal worth up to £8m for Hull defender James Chester. The 26-year-old was due at the club for a medical yesterday with terms agreed to move.

He is expected to tie up the switch after leaving Hull’s training camp in Austria as Tony Pulis’ recruitment drive gathers pace.

West Brom have also dismissed speculation linking Saido Berahino with a move to Tottenham. Reports claimed Spurs were lining up a bid for the England U21 international but West Brom insist they have received no offer.

The club tweeted: “Let us make it clear. There has been NO bid for Saido. That’s it. Carry on everyone.” West Brom want to tie Berahino, who scored 20 goals last season, down to a new contract, with Pulis focused on bringing players in rather than selling.

Chester will be the latest arrival, with the former Man United defender out of contract at the KC Stadium next year and the Tigers cashing in following relegation from the Premier League.

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