O’Neill to consider action on Sunderland winger McClean

TWITTER ROW ... Sunderland winger James McClean.

TWITTER ROW ... Sunderland winger James McClean.

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MARTIN O’NEILL will consider whether to hit James McClean in the pocket when the Sunderland winger returns from international duty today.

O’Neill plans to hold discussions with McClean at the Academy of Light today over the 23-year-old’s Twitter rant against Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni, following last week’s fortuitous World Cup qualifying win over Kazakhstan.

McClean apologised to O’Neill by telephone on Tuesday night and has also publicly apologised both to Trapattoni and his Ireland team-mates.

But O’Neill has not ruled out fining McClean for a second high-profile indiscretion on the social network site, although the Sunderland boss is likely to opt for a final warning.

“He’s not back in until today, but he’s apologised to Trapattoni,” said O’Neill.

“It did happen out there. That’s not absolving ourselves of responsibility, but it was on international duty and he did phone me to apologise.

“We’ll have some discussions with him, but I can’t really say about disciplining him until he gets back here.”

McClean was involved in a Twitter spat last season with Northern Ireland fans after opting to represent the Republic at international level.

But after briefly removing himself from the website, he eventually resumed his tweeting.

McClean has now vowed to close his Twitter account for good after blasting Trapattoni for being restricted to a late substitute’s role in the victory over Kazakhstan.

O’Neill understands that McClean is frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities, but has reminded the former Derry City man that his rise has been a meteoric one.

“I think he has to learn. He wouldn’t be the first player to be disappointed to be left out of a team,” said O’Neill.

“But whether he thinks he should be playing or not, he has to come back and concentrate on club form at the moment.

“The manager there has a job to do and he will pick whatever he considers to be the best side. Eventually, they won the game (against Kazakhstan). They scrambled a win, which was great, so his selection was justified.

“This time last year, James wasn’t in consideration for anything. It’s been a great rise and now he just has to settle down, which I think he will do.

“Somewhere along the way, he has to get into his head that the whole tweeting thing is public now. It’s not as if he’s talking to a couple of friends in private. He’s speaking out publicly.

“He should realise that now because he’s tweeted a number of things over a period of time that has got everybody up in arms. The only person who doesn’t seem to be upset about it is himself.

“If it happens to you once, there’s an excuse. If it happens to you twice, you have to consider it.

“If it’s a third time around, then you’ve really got to ask yourself a few questions. He’s stopped the tweeting now, although we don’t know for how long – we’re hoping seven years!”