‘I vouch for the freak’ – James McClean’s incredible 5k times spark epidural story



Stoke City fitness staff are keeping track of players by monitoring their watches while they train on their own at home.

They have probably rung up James McClean to double check he didn’t drop his on a bus.

Wife Erin has been so impressed that she’s posted his 5k times on social media – but they resulted in so many queries that the midfielder recorded it again using two different apps.

McClean, who turns 31 tomorrow, was posting career-high stamina statistics over the winter and hasn’t needed anyone shouting at him to keep up the pace over the last couple of weeks.

He did his 5k challenge in 16mins 9secs at the weekend and was back out near Crewe this afternoon to do another in 16:12.

It’s not quite world record time – Kenenisa Bekele has that with 12:37 – but it is very fast.

And McClean’s old Republic of Ireland teammate David Meyler chipped in with a story that should put any remaining doubters at rest.

“I vouch for the freak,” he wrote on Twitter.

“If he says he did it 16 whatever then he did.

“Two quick stories we were beaten by France in the last 16 of the Euros next morning he was doing hill sprints on a treadmill.

“Also when we beat Austria away James was told not to play. James was so desperate to play he had an epidural so he could. A lot of women have epidurals during birth. If that alone doesn’t show you what playing for his country means then I give up.”

Well, McClean did say earlier this season: “Without trying to sound like a hero, pain is a state of mind…”





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