Belfast Telegraph

McClean eager to seize his chance to play a greater role on the big stage

By Damien Spellman

James McClean is determined to make the most of his opportunity to go to a second major finals with the Republic of Ireland.

Four years ago, McClean was handed a wild card entry to Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, having only won his first senior cap in February 2012.

He managed only a few minutes as a substitute in the 4-0 defeat to Spain in Poland, but with Republic boss Martin O'Neill indicating he will be on the plane, he is keen to grasp his chance second time around.

McClean, 27, said: "For me, I'm feeling a lot more mature as a player. Four years ago, I was just a young boy and had never played any minutes of the campaign. This time, I feel more a part of the squad."

McClean will hope for further action in tomorrow night's final warm-up game against Belarus having won his 37th cap as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Holland at the Aviva on Friday.

McClean said: "We want to get a win to leave on a positive note and take that momentum with us to France. For everybody, it's a chance to stake a claim for France, but we also want to win to get that momentum."

Belfast Telegraph