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Kevin Kilbane: Wigan fans’ post-match James McClean appreciation was “great to see”

kevin kilbane james mcclean

Kevin Kilbane delights in James McClean appreciation.

Kevin Kilbane has said that it was “great to see” the appreciation shown to James McClean by Wigan Athletic fans on Tuesday night.

Wigan climbed up to eighth in the EFL Championship table after a 2-1 win away to Huddersfield Town, a game in which McClean provided the cross for Callum Lang’s 82nd-minute winner.

James McClean stands apart from teammates.

The Derryman did the business on a night in which much of the focus was on the fact that he stood apart from his teammates during a minute’s silence to honour Queen Elizabeth ahead of kick-off.

Like everyone else on the pitch, McClean wore a black armband and bowed his head as the tribute took place, but it was events after the game that showed the esteem in which he is held by Wigan fans.

Supporters chanted the 33-year-old’s name as he saluted the away end, and the relationship between player and fans didn’t go unnoticed by former Ireland and Wigan midfielder Kilbane.

“Great to see the Latics’ appreciation of Jimmy,” he posted while sharing a clip of the moment of appreciation on Twitter.

In-form James McClean.

McClean has been playing some great football since returning to Wigan in the summer of 2021, after six years away from the club.

He scored nine goals as the Greater Manchester side won the League One title, thus securing promotion back to the second tier of English football.

McClean has gone on to start all eight games in the Championship this season, scoring his only goal so far in a 1-1 draw away to Norwich City on August 6th.

Ireland milestone looms.

All of this is while he remains an important part of Stephen Kenny’s international plans, with a 100-cap milestone for Ireland now just six appearances away.

While McClean has regularly started on the bench for his country in recent times, he played the full 90 minutes in Ireland’s two most recent matches, namely a 3-0 win over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium and a 1-1 draw with Ukraine in Poland.

For that Ukraine game, he was handed the captain’s armband by Stephen Kenny on his 94th appearance in green.

Should McClean go on to reach 100 caps in the coming months, he will become only the seventh player to do so for Ireland.

Kilbane, with 110 caps, is one of those, along with Robbie Keane (146), Shay Given (134), John O’Shea (118), Steve Staunton (102) and Damien Duff (100).

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