The story could have been totally different had McClean taken up Peterborough's offer to sign him last summer, however.
Then at Derry City, the winger flew in for talks at the Cambridgeshire club but former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce swooped to snatch him from under Posh's nose and he moved to the north-east, where he has been a big success ever since.
"I know him well. We had him here. I spoke to him, met him and I thought we had the deal done, but unfortunately Sunderland came in at the last minute," Posh boss Darren Ferguson said.
"He is some player. We watched him many times in Ireland but a big club like Sunderland came in and that was his choice. I think he will go on to be a really good player. We were just a bit unfortunate not to get him."