Sunderland winger James McClean has described his inclusion in the Republic of Ireland squad for the European Championships as the ‘stuff of dreams’.
The 23-year-old Derry native has been in sparkling form since making his debut for the Black Cats in December, which was followed by his first start under Giovanni Trapattoni in an international friendly against the Czech Republic on February 29.
McLean last night admitted: “I’m over the moon. It’s the stuff of dreams. I think I’ve done really well so far, but all I’ve been concentrating on is my form for Sunderland. I think I’ve performed consistently so far, and thankfully, I’ve been noticed. “To be picked for my country for a major championship is really a dream come true and I can’t wait to link up with the squad now.
He added: “As a child, all I wanted to do was play football, especially for my country. I think that is probably why this means so much to me. Making my debut at the Aviva (against Czech Republic) is something I’ll always remember, not only because of the reception or the occasion, but because it was a massive achievement for myself.”
It’s been a memorable year for McClean, having recently claimed the Sunderland Young Player of the Year award as well as earning a new contract that will keep him at the Stadium of Light until 2015. However, McClean doesn’t plan to rest on his laurels.
“I believe in my own ability and I always have. I’m hoping to get a chance in Poland, because I think I can bring something to the team.
“But as I said, it is an honour to be included and I’ll be doing everything to help my country do as well as we can. I was thinking I would be getting a break after the end of the season, because I’ve never had a break for the last couple of years.
“But I’m delighted I’m not getting a break this year, for all the right reasons.”
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