Sunderland's James McClean vies with Chelsea's Lampard and Bleakley for Ulster celeb wedding of 2013
Controversial footballer James McClean is set to take on Chelsea’s Frank Lampard in a battle of celebrity weddings in 2013.
The Sunderland player who was embroiled in a Remembrance Day death threat last month popped the question to his girlfriend Erin Connor just before Christmas.
The Sunderland and Republic of Ireland star revealed his engagement to his beautiful blonde girlfriend during a visit home before Christmas.
Showing off her sparkler on her Twitter page, a delighted Erin said to her husband-to-be: “So happy!! Love u.”
And Erin’s sister, Kerri-lee also took to the social networking site to express her happiness. She wrote on Twitter: “Congrats to my wee sissy, ‘Erineyy’ and James McClean on their engagement! The secret is finally out.”
It’s understood that the 23-year-old sportsman picked the ring himself and that nursing student Erin accepted his proposal last month. With Newtownards TV star Christine Bleakley and her footballer fiance Frank Lampard also set to get hitched in the coming year all eyes are on who will win in the sports wedding stakes.
The engagement ends 2012 on a happy note for McClean who was at the receiving end of death threats, including one sparked by his decision not to to wear a Remembrance Day poppy.
McClean, who comes from the Creggan area of Derry, was subjected to the threat after declining to wear a Sunderland shirt embroidered with a poppy at his side’s match against Everton.
A Manchester doorman who claimed to be a former British soldier posted a Twitter message threatening to shoot McClean, alongside images of bullets.
Kilrea born Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill wore a poppy on his post-Everton match suit.
Referring later to McClean’s decision, he said: “It’s a free choice in this world.”
McClean also incurred the wrath of loyalists when he turned down a call-up to play for Northern Ireland — opting instead to make himself eligible for the Republic of Ireland team.
Death threats and sectarian abuse on the Twitter social networking site forced him to close his page for a time.
Within months of making his Republic of Ireland debut, McClean got into trouble with manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
An angry tweet from McClean about being left on the substitutes’ bench brought an embarrassing apology from the Derry man to the manager.