McClean celebrates Ireland call-up
Sunderland winger James McClean has spoken of his joy after being called into the Ireland squad for the first time.
The 22-year-old has been added to the initial 24-man party named by manager Giovanni Trapattoni earlier this month for the friendly clash with the Czech Republic on February 29. However, McClean revealed he was not aware of his inclusion until he was inundated with messages on Tuesday morning.
McClean told the Irish Independent: "I was actually half asleep and my phone was going mad with text messages. People were wishing me well and telling me to check Sky Sports News as soon as possible, so I got out of bed, went downstairs and turned on the TV. Then I saw on the breaking news bar that I was called up."
He added: "It's the greatest honour any player can achieve and I'm looking forward to linking up with the squad at the weekend."
McClean had been widely tipped to make the squad in the first place after a series of fine displays for his club, although his disappointment at being omitted was tempered by the fact that Trapattoni called him in person to reassure him that he had a future at senior international level.
He said: "Obviously, I was very disappointed with not being picked when the squad was announced first.
"I spoke with him [Trapattoni] the night before the announcement, and he told me that he was impressed with how I was doing.
"I really appreciated that because it's not every day you have a person of his calibre on the phone to you telling you you're doing great."