James McClean ‘not the sharpest tool in the box’ says Pulis after WBA-Sunderland melee

Furore at The Hawthorns, with James McClean at the centre of the action. Picture by Frank Reid
Furore at The Hawthorns, with James McClean at the centre of the action. Picture by Frank Reid
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West Brom boss Tony Pulis didn’t see the melee sparked by James McClean but admits he will speak to the fiery winger if he needs to.

But Pulis did admit the former Sunderland winger ‘isn’t the sharpest tool in the box’.

McClean’s every touch was jeered by the travelling Sunderland fans at The Hawthorns, the winger having refused to wear the poppy emblem on his shirt during his stint playing for the Black Cats.

McClean again confirmed his stance ahead of Remembrance Sunday in an interview in the Baggies matchday programme.

At the end of his side’s 1-0 win, McClean went over to goad the travelling fans.

It led to ugly scenes with Lee Cattermole and Danny Graham among several players getting involved before the players were led off the pitch.

Pulis said he didn’t see the incident as he was back in the dressing room and said he needed to see their winning goal by Saido Berahino again.

“I’ve not seen the goal back yet,” said Pulis.

“Saido says he ran across him, I didn’t see McClean [at the end either].

“Saido says he didn’t run into him though.”

When pressed on McClean, Pulis added: “I’d heared a roar or whatever, I didn’t know whether the players had been involved in something, let me have a look at it.

“If he is out of order then I will speak to him.”

Pulis added: “James played really well.

“He has settled in and is a smashing lad. The lads have taken to him.

“He is a really nice lad.

“He isn’t the sharpest tool in the box and that is not being disrespectful to him but he is a smashing lad.”

Sunderland beaten in Sam Allardyce’s first match in charge.