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Stoke boss disagrees with inclusion of James McClean in Ireland squad

James McClean

Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has expressed surprise that James McClean was named in the Republic of Ireland squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

James McClean was an injury concern for Ireland boss Stephen Kenny going into the upcoming international break but the Derryman was called up for the fixtures against Serbia, Luxembourg and Qatar.

McClean played no part in Stoke’s 1-0 victory over Derby County on Saturday afternoon as the 31-year-old has been struggling with a foot injury in recent weeks.

James McClean

But the winger is set to join up with his Irish teammates today and it’s clear that his club manager, Michael O’Neill, doesn’t agree with the call-up.

O’Neill raised doubts about McClean’s fitness and explained that McClean wouldn’t be ready to play for Stoke on Wednesday, if they were playing midweek as Ireland will.

“James hasn’t trained yet. For me, he’s not fit. I don’t think he’s fit enough to be part of that squad,” O’Neill told the Stoke Sentinel.

“It’s up to Ireland to assess him, they have the right to do that. That’s the rules of international football.

“But he’s not trained with us. He was out doing a bit of running today and it was the first time he’s done that. He’s three weeks into the rehabilitation process with the injury and I’m surprised that Ireland have called him up.

“If we had a game on Wednesday night, for example, like Ireland have, James wouldn’t be fit for that game.”

James McClean

McClean was one of a number of injury doubts for Kenny, who is still looking for his first win since taking over from Mick McCarthy last year.

When naming his 29-man squad, Kenny admitted that it was too early to predict whether McClean would be available for the upcoming games but he remains optimistic.

For the full Ireland squad, click here.

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