McClean thrilled to repay O’Neill’s faith

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Off-the-mark James McClean believes the backing of Martin O’Neill has given him the confidence to make the seamless switch to Premier League performer, writes Chris Young.

McClean shone on just his second Sunderland start at Wigan last night, breaking his Black Cats duck with the crucial second goal in a 4-1 victory.

The 22-year-old only made his first-team debut as a late substitute against Blackburn Rovers last month, but the ex-Derry City winger has wasted little time in grasping his chance under O’Neill.

McClean said of the new Sunderland boss: “He has given me huge confidence.

“He has come in and he has given me opportunities and shown faith in me.

“It’s up to me to repay the faith. I am delighted and enjoying every game so far.

“I have settled better than I thought I would do. It’s my first time away from home and the first few months were a bit difficult, but the lads have made me feel really settled and welcome.”

* Full story in today’s Sunderland Echo