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What has nationalist poster boy James McClean got in common with Cameron's wife?

By Claire McNeily

Published 30/07/2015

James McClean sporting hits tattoo
James McClean sporting hits tattoo
James McClean
Samantha Cameron

A fleeting glimpse of a tattoo has revealed an unlikely link between controversial footballer James McClean and David Cameron's wife.

It seems that the 26-year-old winger, who recently caused anger when he turned his back on the Cross of St George flag, is a fan of English author and playwright Enid Bagnold.

McClean has a quote from Bagnold - who also happens to be the great-grandmother of Samantha Cameron - on his left leg.

The Londonderry-born Republic of Ireland international showed off his consideable body art during his club West Bromwich Albion's friendly with Walsall this week.

Observers who are well aware of McClean's political leanings were rather bemused to see the classic Bagnold quote on show.

It says: "A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again."

Enid Algerine Bagnold, who died in 1981 at the age of 91, is perhaps best known for her 1935 novel National Velvet, the film version of which made a star of the young Elizabeth Taylor.

Her quote about fatherhood is often brought up in and around Father's Day - and McClean, incidentally, is about to become a father again, with partner Erin Connor expecting the couple's second child.

The two Derry natives already have a one-year-old daugher, Allie Mae.

McClean is, of course, no stranger to a tattoo studio and, just above the Bagnold quote, is a huge depiction of Free Derry Corner.

The footballer's love of his home city is also encapsulated by the first two lines of Derry songwriter Phil Coulter's classic early Seventies paean The Town I Loved So Well ("In my memories I will always see, the town that I have loved so well"), which, ironically, was made famous by The Dubliners.

The Premier League star's left leg body art is completed by the McClean family crest, and one of the many tattoos that decorate his arms bears a simple message "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."

'Learning from yesterday' was certainly in McClean's club manager Tony Pulis's mind when he reminded the former Northern Ireland youth international of his responsibilities after the recent flag incident in Charleston, South Carolina.

"He's got to turn towards the flag like everybody else has and he recognises that... obviously there has been a stigma around him and he doesn't need to start that up again," said Pulis, who paid Wigan £1.5m for McClean two months ago.

The player's political views were, however, defended by West Brom club captain Darren Fletcher, who said: "I have a bit of an insight into it, because my mum is Irish and I have got family in Derry.

"He's got strong beliefs and it is great that he has those beliefs. He has not caused anyone any harm."

Belfast Telegraph

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