Belfast Telegraph

James McClean: Doubters have inspired Republic of Ireland to bright start in Euro 2020 qualifying

Motivated: James McClean
Motivated: James McClean

By Damian Spellman

James McClean has warned Switzerland to write off the Republic of Ireland at their peril as the sides prepare to go head-to-head in the battle for Euro 2020 qualification.

The Swiss head for Dublin on Thursday evening to meet the Group D leaders with the Republic having collected 10 of the 12 points they have contested to date.

However, they are yet to face Switzerland, who are currently ranked 11th in the world and have only just slipped out of the top 10, and still have to travel to Georgia and host Denmark, although Stoke midfielder McClean is relishing the opportunity to prove people wrong once again.

He said: "If someone questions you and tells you you can't do something or they don't give you much of a chance, you kind of find that extra motivation to say, 'Well, I'm going to show you, I'm going to show you that I can'.

"Just naturally, that kind of riles you up a bit more. The more people write us off and the more people don't give us a chance, the better it is for us because it gives you that extra sense of motivation to say, 'Well I'm going to show you that we can and prove you wrong'."

The Republic have, in the recent past, proved they can be a match for some of the better teams in Europe, dispatching then world champions Germany in a Euro 2016 qualifier in October 2015 and then Italy at the finals.

McClean played in the latter game and knows he and his team-mates can take inspiration.

He said: “It’s nice that we know in the past we can get results against teams like that.

“We’ve got four games coming up now you’d probably say (are) tougher than the first four we’ve had, but we’re going in top of the league and it gives a nice positive reaction.”

McClean met up with Mick McCarthy’s squad with Stoke rooted to the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table after a difficult start, and he did so firmly behind manager Nathan Jones.

He said: “I could sit here and blame the manager, but it’s not always the manager’s fault. You can say it’s Nathan Jones’ fault now, it was Gary Rowett’s fault before that.

“Us as players need to look at ourselves in the mirror and say maybe there’s a reason why Stoke have had so many managers in a short period of time. We as players need to take responsibility.

“We need to step up to the plate and show character, grab it by the scruff. I like the manager and I do hope he’s given time, but if he’s not and a new manager comes in, then no matter who the manager is, us as players, we need to take a look in the mirror and say maybe we’re the problem.”

Belfast Telegraph


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