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Monday 18 December 2017

O'Neill: It's up to Trapattoni

Sunderland boss refuses to criticise McClean exclusion

MARTIN O'NEILL insists he won't interfere in the row over James McClean's exclusion from the Republic of Ireland squad for the friendly against the Czech Republic.

But the Sunderland boss feels that there is still time for the Derry-born star to make it into the squad for the Euro 2012 finals.

McClean put in another impressive display for Sunderland in Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup win over Arsenal with the former Derry City man proving to be a lucky omen for the club

Sunderland have lost just three times in McClean's 14 appearances for the Black Cats, and his display again raised questions over his failure to make it into the 24-man squad for the Czech Republic game.



Loyalty

But O'Neill has not yet called up Trapattoni to moan about his cold shoulder for McClean.

"I have not had any conversations with (Giovanni) Trapattoni about anything. He is the manager and it is his prerogative to do what he wants," said O'Neill.

"Trapattoni has done fantastically well. He has used a certain squad and he has got used to those players, so I understand he has a loyalty to them.

"I have not spoken to James about the situation, but I have seen a quote that Trapattoni has spoken to him and I think that is the right way to go about things. To be honest, my selfish focus here is just for him to do well for us.

"There is no doubt James will make a big impact at international level," said O'Neill, who gave McClean his debut in his first game in charge on Wearside at the beginning of December. "I am hoping there is still time for a door to open for him -- that would be great.

"James has made a major impact here and I thought he might get a chance to play in a little friendly game and see what he is capable of doing."

Meanwhile, McClean is already relishing a personal battle with fellow Derry man Shane Duffy in the next round of the FA Cup, following yesterday's quarter-final draw which saw Everton drawn at home to Sunderland.

An ankle injury forced Duffy to drop out of David Moyes' squad for Saturday's win over Blackpool but the game was a big moment for compatriot Seamus Coleman as he came back following a five-week injury absence.

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