Sunderland star McClean eyes World Cup chances

James McClean
James McClean
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JAMES McClean hopes he can feature more prominently in the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign after being sparingly used at Euro 2012.

McClean was used just once by Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni in Poland and Ukraine – a 15-minute competitive debut from the substitute’s bench in the 4-0 group stage defeat to Spain.

But given the 23-year-old only made his international bow in February, the Sunderland winger admits he had few gripes at such a brief outing at the European Championships.

That will change when Ireland begin their World Cup qualifiers in September, with Trapattoni’s men facing a daunting group that sees them face Germany, Sweden, Austria, the Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan for a place in Brazil in 2014.

The Black Cats man said: “We have to do our best to qualify. Germany are flying at the minute and Sweden are a tough side but there are other good teams there also and we know it’s not going to be easy.

“But we have to take confidence into it and believe that we can qualify. The World Cup is the biggest stage in the world and you can show what you can do. I want to be there with Ireland.

“It was great to get my competitive debut against Spain but on a personal level I was disappointed not to get more playing time. I always thought I would get a run-out at some stage.

“I was disappointed when I didn’t get the start against Spain because, just like any player, you want to play as many minutes as possible.

“When the manager told me I was coming on during the Spain match it was obviously exciting, but it was no surprise that he didn’t make changes because he said that he was going to use the players that had got Ireland there.

“It was disappointing but understandable that he stuck with the players.

“Hopefully as we go on I can get more playing time and repay the confidence they’ve shown in me.”