Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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James McClean slams cowards who threw objects at him

Republic of Ireland football hero James McClean has hit out at "cowards" who he claims threw objects at him at a stadium this weekend.

The West Bromwich Albion footballer from Londonderry was scrutinised by Match of the Day pundits over a tackle in their defeat to Huddersfield. He posted a message online alleging the pundits did not give any coverage to objects being thrown in his direction in the immediate aftermath of the tackle.

"Convenient how Match of the Day cameras pick up my tackle, but fail to pick up bottles, coins and lighters been thrown in same incident," McClean said.

It was the second social media post by McClean, who had earlier expressed his feelings on Instagram. "Frustrating is the best word to describe today. PS launching bottles and other objects from up in the stands make you cowards not hard men," he posted.

The Derry man has received abuse in stadiums and online for his refusal to wear the poppy on his jersey for Remembrance weekend.

The player has never worn the poppy since he was signed by Sunderland in 2011. In a letter to his chairman at Wigan Athletic in 2014, McClean explained the reasoning behind his stance, saying the poppy was a symbol of commemoration for all the conflicts that Britain had fought in.

He said he had "complete respect" for those who fought and died in both world wars.

"But the poppy is used to remember victims of other conflicts since 1945 and this is where the problem starts for me," he commented.

"For me to wear a poppy would be as much a gesture of disrespect for the innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles - and Bloody Sunday especially - as I have in the past been accused of disrespecting the victims of WWI and WWII.

"It would be seen as an act of disrespect to those people, to my people," the West Brom player added.

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