Breaking – James McClean suspended by Stoke City after alleged Covid breach



James McClean has been suspended with immediate effect by Stoke City due an alleged breach of Covid-19 guidelines.

The 31-year-old posted a video of himself boxing with a trainer in a private gym on Instagram, which would be against the current UK regulations.

Stoke City will now hold a disciplinary hearing.

He will not be available for Saturday’s game at Blackburn Rovers.

A brief statement from Stoke City said: “Stoke City can confirm that James McClean has been suspended with immediate effect pending a disciplinary hearing into an alleged breach of Covid-19 regulations, namely training in a private gym.”

McClean joined Stoke from West Bromwich Albion in the summer of 2018.

He found his best form when Michael O’Neill took charge in November last season and produced performances that saw him name player of the year as he helped the club stay in the Championship.

The Republic of Ireland international has also taken a stand against sectarian abuse, leading calls for the FA and PFA to take a stronger stance.

But he has not been without off-the-field controversy.

He was fined by the club in March last year after posting a photo of himself wearing a black paramilitary-style balaclava as he pretended to home teach his children. He admitted he misjudged an attempted joke, apologised and quickly deleted that post and then his whole Instagram account.

He has been a regular this season, making 26 appearances for club and country.

Stoke players all underwent Covid tests today as part of a PFA-funded twice-weekly testing programme.

McClean tested positive in November while he was on international duty. He missed two games for Stoke while in self-isolation.

At the time, O’Neill said: “He had a little bit of tiredness last week when he was with Ireland but he’s been working away in his gym at home.

“It’s hard to keep James down in terms of recovery and stop him doing exercise. He’s feeling ok within himself and we look forward to him coming back once he’s gone through the isolation period.”





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