O'Neill's praise for Irish ace McClean
SUNDERLAND boss Martin O'Neill heaped even more praise on Ireland hopeful James McClean following yesterday's FA Cup draw with Sunderland.
The £350,000 which Sunderland paid Derry City for McClean last summer looks like the bargain of the season as the 22-year-old set up the equalising goal for Sunderland at home to Middlesbrough, his ninth appearance of the season.
"Great credit must go to James McClean for his part," said O'Neill.
"McClean was just brilliant for us in the second half and put in some splendid crosses."
There is growing pressure on Giovanni Trapattoni to include McClean when he names his squad on Friday week for the February 29 friendly at home to the Czech Republic.
However, McClean has still not been cleared to make his competitive debut for the Republic, as the paperwork relating to his 'switch' from Northern Ireland is still being processed by FIFA.
The IFA made a final attempt last week to persuade McClean to ignore the Republic's call and stick with Northern Ireland but the player says his mind is made up. "That's all put to bed," he says.