McClean West Brom move a boost to club and international credentials
After a two-season absence from the Premier League, Republic of Ireland international James McClean secured a welcomed return to the top-flight by sealing a £1.5m switch from Wigan Athletic to West Bromwich Albion, a move which could see the Derry-born winger revive his promising ambitions.
Having picked up invaluable top tier experience during two campaigns with Sunderland, after a high-profile move from Irish outfit Derry City, the 26-year-old will now seek to recapture form that has seen him earn 27 caps for his country on a return to the big-time.
McClean has never been a player to shy away from a challenge, having joined Wigan straight after they had been relegated from the Premier League in 2013, going on to become a genuine star performer, netting 11 goals in 87 appearances and was voted player of the year for last term.
However, the returning top-flight wingman was unable to prevent the Latics from slipping helplessly to another drop down divisions, as the shining Wigan light jumped quickly from a dauntingly sinking ship, as they prepare for life in League One without their Irish playmaker (9/4 with Coral to be promoted).
The new Baggies signing will now arrive at The Hawthorns with a more stable foundation beneath him, with former clubs Sunderland and Wigan having been in domestic declines during his stints there, but working under the insightful guidance of Tony Pulis will only help McClean find another gear in his club career.
“I’m delighted. I’ve played in the Premier League before and not only am I back here, but I’m with a stable top flight club and one that wants to push on,” stated the Irishman.
“The gaffer here, Tony Pulis told me what his plans were and where I would fit in. It was all very positive. The Premier League is where any player wants to be.
“He also told me he has a great dressing room, it’s been a stable club – but he’s made it clear he wants to push this club on. I’m very ambitious.”
Such a switch to the West Midlands follows a growing trend of former Stoke City boss Pulis’, as he adds further width to his Baggies squad, having delved into Wigan’s ranks before to acquire direct attacking winger Callum McManaman.
“Everything about this move seems right for me – I’m very positive about it. Once the Albion came in this was a move I was keen to get done – this is a big club and a new chapter for me,” continued McClean.
The creative Ireland international will be reunited with fellow wideman and former Wigan teammate McManaman, as well as Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner, whom he spent time alongside at the Stadium of Light.
Pulis’ transfer dealings so far this summer show that a reliance on natural wide players is imminent for next term, as he looks to stamp his authority on the Baggies outfit for his first full season in charge at The Hawthorns.
Such a tactical ploy will undoubtedly see new arrival McClean play a key role in helping West Brom bounce towards a top 10 position next season, with his expected impact a potential path to a more regular first-choice role under Martin O’Neill at international level.
McClean’s performances for his country have long been regarded as the embodiment of how any young Irishman would like to operate if given the prestigious opportunity to don the green jersey, in a passionate and aggressive nature, but the former Wigan winger has become more of late impact player recently.
In Ireland’s quest to qualify for Euro 2016 next summer (13/5), McClean has only came off the bench in the last four international outings, which included warm-up friendlies, and his most recent start was in the 1-0 defeat to Scotland last November.
However, with a return to the Premier League now secured, this driven West Brom attacker will now seek to resurrect his possibly stuttering Ireland career and hope to enjoy a successful long-term spell with a more stable club in the top-flight (40/1 to win Capital One Cup).