James McClean explains what drove him to leave Sunderland

The West Brom player was speaking on BBC's Football Focus

BY Sinéad Farrell 16:00 Saturday 29 April 2017, 16:00 29 Apr 2017

Andrew Matthews/EMPICS Sport

James McClean opened up about various aspects of his game and his own personal story, in an absorbing interview on BBC's Football Focus.

He addressed issues including the ongoing poppy controversy and the misunderstandings connected with his love for the music of the Wolfe Tonnes.

The Irish and West Brom player, who is a native of Derry, does not wear the poppy out of respect for those who died during the troubles.

His decision however, has not been well received in England and he has been repeatedly criticised for his refusal to observe the tradition.

During his time with Sunderland, McClean revealed that even his own fans were booing him for not wearing the poppy.

He added that the hostility from the fans 'disrupted' his form at Sunderland, and two incidents at the end of the season, ultimately provoked him to leave the club in 2013.

"It was one of the last games of the season and like I normally do, I took my home jersey home. I gave it to a kid outside the stadium and his father took it off him and threw it back at me. And then on the way home, we pulled up at traffic lights. My car's here and there's another car beside me. The guy rolled down the window and spat at my window, and drove off.

"My missus was in the car, and she was pregnant at the time and I was thinking, 'I'm about to bring a baby into this world, I don't need all this hassle.'

"The next day I went in to see Paolo (Di Canio) and said, 'look I think it's time that I move on,' and I explained the situation."

Further on in the interview, McClean also spoke about the sudden death of his friend, and Derry City captain, Ryan McBride, as well as his decision to declare for the Republic of Ireland.

Watch the interview in full here.


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