JAMES McClean will today discover whether his bid for Euro 2012 inclusion has been successful.
The Republic of Ireland were due to announce their 23-man squad for the summer’s European Championships at around 3.30pm this afternoon, with Sunderland winger McClean expected to be included in the party for Poland and Ukraine.
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni signalled last week that McClean was set to be involved after telling reporters the 23-year-old had a “90 to 99 per cent chance” of appearing at the Euro finals.
But there remains some scepticism on the other side of the Irish Sea to Trapattoni’s claims, particularly after consistently pleading loyalty to those who secured Ireland’s qualification to a first major championships in a decade.
McClean only made his international bow as a late substitute against the Czech Republic last February, but, such has been his meteoric rise at Sunderland, it has almost become impossible for Trapattoni to overlook him.
The ex-Derry City man is certainly not lacking in support, with current and former Sunderland managers backing his claims for a place in the squad.
Black Cats boss Martin O’Neill said last week: “I would be advocating James to join the Republic of Ireland squad absolutely. Nothing will faze James.”
And Roy Keane has also backed McClean’s credentials, albeit the wideman was unable to halt Sunderland’s winless run at Fulham yesterday.
“He is hard to ignore,” said former Sunderland manager and Ireland midfielder Keane.
“He scores goals, he gets assists, he gets up and down the pitch and I know Martin O’Neill loves him at Sunderland.”