Monday, January 2, 2012

McClean hungry for more game time

There was hardly a better way for Derry born James McClean to mark his first start for Sunderland as Ji Dong-won scored a last-minute winner against Manchester City.

The 22-year-old Irish flyer starred on the left wing for Sunderland, who recorded their third win in five games thanks to Dong-won's 93rd-minute goal.

"There was jubilation after Ji's goal - the whole place just erupted," said McClean, who joined Sunderland from Derry City last summer.

"To put in a performance like that against one of the best teams in the country and come away with the win, the team deserve huge credit.

"The fans are brilliant - they created a great atmosphere in the stadium."

He explained: "We put a lot into the game, some of the lads were out on their feet, including myself - that just shows great determination and character for us to break forward and manage to come away with the win.

"It was a tough game, we stayed disciplined and kept our shape throughout the game and we got in their faces and it paid off."

Now the winger is hoping he's impressed manager Martin O'Neill sufficiently to ensure another start against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium tomorrow night.

He says his full debut is a huge boost and is relishing the chance to drive home his claim for a regular starting spot.

"I've had a few run-outs lately and the manager knew I was hungry for it so it was delighted when I found out I'd be starting," McClean explained.

"Hopefully I can to push on and get more starts now."

McClean, who recently stated that it would be a dream to represent Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland side, will have done his future international prospects no harm with some eye-catching Sunderland performances in recent weeks.