Stoke City winger in admission over his fitness



Big-hearted James McClean, who has now made two coronavirus-related donations to his community, has revealed that he pushed himself to hard to  get back from his recent knee injury.

McClean, a huge success under Michael O’Neill, had been absent since the home defeat to Preston on February 12 before the health crisis halted all matches.

He says: “Obviously I have been struggling with this knee injury and I have had a set-back here and there.

“I was pushing myself probably too hard, to try and get fit for the playoffs and also get back helping Stoke, especially the position we are in, so in a way it has given me more time to get this knee injury right.

“However, in the same scene I have got a gym at home and a back garden, which is thankfully big enough to the drills, gym work and fitness work that I need to do to keep sharp and keep in shape.”

McClean, who was speaking to Sky and the Derry Journal, has also been explaining his part in a 25,000euro donation to the League of Ireland along with fellow Irish internationals Seamus Coleman, Enda Stevens and Kevin Long.

“A few clubs have laid off players and staff because of the crisis and they don’t have people through the gates,” said McClean.

“We thought it would be a nice gesture if  we could help in some way and from then on it was a no brainer.

“It’s where I came through, it’s where I started in football. Considering how great the league was for me, it’s where I came through, so to see teams struggling disappoints me.

“I saw Sligo Rovers have laid off players and staff, and clubs in the League of Ireland aren’t blessed like some clubs in England, they rely on their gates.

“We were those players not so long ago. We had those bills so we know how tough it is. You don’t get the wages in Ireland like we get over here.”

McClean has also made a donation to a food bank in his native Derry.

“The donation for the food came about because I was banging my head against the wall. I wanted to do something that was going to help people that really needed it.

“I was also thinking about the NHS staff but I didn’t know the right channels to go down there so, in the end, I decided to donate to help elderly and families with young children.”





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