James McClean has been praised by Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill but also challenged to improve in the season ahead.
Last term, James McClean proved to be a hugely important player for Stoke and set up as many goals as he scored for The Potters in the Championship.
McClean featured in 36 league matches for Stoke last season and his manager has now challenged him to bring more to his game ahead of a season in which O’Neill predicts the Republic of Ireland international “will be a very big player for us.”
While full of compliments for his energetic winger, O’Neill also challenged McClean to accomplish a career-high total of at least 10 goals and assists in the 2020/21 campaign.
Speaking on talkSPORT, O’Neill said: “He had a very good season for us, James. I think it was seven goals and seven assists.
“The target for him is to get double figures in both of them. He probably should have scored 10 goals, to be honest, and he knows that himself.
“The one thing you can get from James is honesty in terms of how he plays the game, the distance he covers in the game, and what he gives to the team both attacking wise and defensively, and that can’t be questioned.
“There are elements of his game we would like to see adapted and to be brought into his game.
“But to score seven goals from a wide position is a real positive.
“To put in the amount of crosses he did was a real positive and also to do the work he does for the team.
“Towards the end of the season we played him as a left wing-back and he adapted to that position well.
“We need to get as much out of him as possible. He’ll be a very big player for us this year.”