McClean: I will learn from mistakes
James McClean admits to feeling guilty for the trouble he has put Giovanni Trapattoni and Martin O'Neill through.
Having already found himself at the centre of controversy for opting to represent Ireland rather than his native Northern Ireland, the 24-year-old Ireland winger has repeatedly landed himself in hot water as a result of messages posted on social networking site Twitter, and his refusal to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt.
Both Trapattoni and former Sunderland manager O'Neill have had cause to reprimand him as a result, and the message appears to have finally hit home. McClean said: "Both Martin O'Neill and the manager (Trapattoni) have had a word in the past. I feel a bit bad now because I haven't been the easiest. But I take that on board and I think I have matured a bit in the last few months, and I will continue to hopefully do that."
McClean was catapulted into the limelight when O'Neill handed him a debut as a substitute in his first game in charge at the Stadium of Light in December 2011, and his introduction sparked a revival which saw the Black Cats overturn a 1-0 deficit to beat Blackburn 2-1.
The Irishman had previously had to be patient with Steve Bruce, the man who paid Derry City £350,000 for his services during the previous August, reluctant to throw him in at the deep end.
However, McClean prospered under O'Neill to the extent that he not only won a first senior cap for his country, but forced his way into the squad for last summer's Euro 2012 finals. But last season proved a difficult time for him as his form on the pitch dipped amid a series of well-publicised off-the-field issues.
McClean said: "It was a bit of a whirlwind first six months, amazing, top of the world, and then a lot of things happened in between then. But it will help me as a person. I will learn from all that and it will put me in good stead for the future.
"It was all new to me - I was still the same lad as I was from my time at Derry and that kind of went against me. I want to continue to just be me, and what comes with that comes with that. But I have learnt to not say too much."
McClean set up two of his country's four goals in Sunday's friendly victory over Georgia, and is desperate to play a part in the World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands on Friday night.
He said: "The other day gave me a bit of confidence with the two assists, so hopefully if I am called upon again I will do a job."