Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Footballer James McClean in fresh poppy row

James McClean
James McClean

Footballer James McClean is at the centre of a new poppy storm after claiming he won’t give in to pressure to wear the Remembrance emblem.

The former Derry City winger, now playing in the Premiership with Sunderland, was sent death threats after refusing to wear a specially-commissioned shirt featuring a poppy last November.

But the 23-year-old Derry native who plays for the Republic insists he has no regrets — and will do the same again.

“You’re not going to please everybody and I don’t mind the abuse; it will only make me play better,” he said.

“People have... their beliefs and I have mine.

“I don’t regret (the poppy decision); come next year I’m going to do the same thing.”

Last summer McClean received sectarian abuse from some Northern Ireland fans following his call-up to the Republic’s Euro squad.

He responded by telling them to watch their own country in the Euros, ending his message with “oh wait ... #mybad #awkward”.

On Friday, Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill expressed disappointment that McClean had returned to Twitter, despite club warnings to stay off the site.

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