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Sunderland's McClean: Northern Ireland was a stepping stone for me

Sunderland young gun James McClean has revealed that playing for the Northern Ireland U21 team was simply a stepping stone for him to represent the Republic of Ireland.

The 23-year old winger has pledge his allegiance to the Republic despite being born in the north prompting plenty of abuse from Northern Ireland fans on his account.

McClean, who has since been forced to shut that account down, was recently selected for Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for this summer's Euros and has revealed his reasons for switching allegiances.

"I think any Catholic would be lying if they said they did feel at home, seeing all those flags [Union Jacks] and hearing the songs and chants," he told the Irish Independent.

"For me, I didn't feel a part of it. It's probably the wrong thing to say, but it was just a stepping stone in my career.

"When I signed for Sunderland, my dream of playing for Ireland became realistic."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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