McClean makes 'personal choice' not to wear poppy
Sunderland have confirmed winger James McClean’s decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt was a personal one.
The Northern Ireland-born Republic of Ireland international was included in the team which started yesterday’s 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Everton, but did not wear the same shirt as the rest of his team-mates.
But the Black Cats have insisted the decision was McClean’s alone.
A statement said: “As a club, SAFC wholeheartedly supports the Remembrance commemorations. It was James’ personal choice not to wear a shirt on this occasion.”
The 23-year-old’s decision sparked a flurry of Twitter activity, with some users condemning him and others coming out in support of his right to choose.
Derry-born McClean sparked controversy earlier this year when he opted to play for the Republic rather than Northern Ireland, and found himself the target for abuse.
However, he issued a humble apology in September after using his own Twitter account to express his disappointment at being left on the bench as Giovanni Trapattoni’s men laboured to a 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory in Kazakhstan.
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill later urged him to take greater responsibility for his career and to curtail his interest in social media.
McClean was today due to meet up with his Republic team-mates for Wednesday night’s friendly against Greece in Dublin.