JAMES McClean is confident Sunderland’s wingmen can prove a lethal double act after instantly benefiting from Adam Johnson’s arrival.
Debutant Johnson set up both of McClean’s goals in last night’s 2-0 Capital One Cup victory over League Two club Morecambe, as Sunderland coasted into the third round of the competition.
McClean expects to come in for extra attention this season after starring in his maiden campaign on Wearside last year, and has been working individually with Sunderland coach and ex-Celtic winger Steve Guppy to develop his game.
But, with £10million arrival Johnson (pictured, inset) stretching defences on the opposite flank, Republic of Ireland wideman McClean believes the injection of quality into Sunderland’s ranks can help him continue to thrive.
McClean told the Echo: “I got two goals from two assists from him and hopefully I can get a lot more of that this season.
“I think the fans are going to love him here and he showed last night the calibre of player he is.
“But we knew he would be like that because he’s an England international and just come from Man City. He’s a quality player and it’s great that we’ve been able to attract him to this club.
“I know I’ll come in for more attention this season and it’s something I’ll have to overcome.
“But if Adam can help me, that only bodes well for the rest of us.
“To attract players of the quality that we’ve got here now bodes well for the rest of the season. It just shows the club is moving in the right direction.
“You only have to look at the record of Adam and (fellow new boy) Steven Fletcher and what they’ve done before they came here, to see that.”
McClean headed Sunderland in front from Johnson’s corner midway through the first half and doubled the advantage after the break when he poked the former Middlesbrough man’s pull-back beyond Morecambe stopper Barry Roche.
After the dejection of last weekend’s opening Stadium of Light outing against Reading falling victim to the weather, McClean admits Sunderland’s players were eager to put on a display and showcase Martin O’Neill’s £22m double signings.
“It’s nice to get off the mark for the season in terms of goals and to get two as well,” added the 23-year-old.
“We managed to get the job done, too, and get through, so I’m delighted.
“It was a shame that the Reading game was off because there was a real buzz around the place, none more so than with me.
“I was really looking forward to getting the season underway at home.
“For it to be called off was really gutting.
“But that made it more exciting for last night’s game and I think it showed.”
H The third round draw will be made tomorrow night.