Ireland star James McClean confirms retirement from international football

Ireland star James McClean confirms retirement from international football

IRELAND footballer James McClean has announced that he will be retiring from international football at the end of the 2023 season.

McClean, who recently celebrated his 100th cap for his country in the 3-0 win over Gibraltar, confirmed today that the New Zealand international friendly on Tuesday, November 21 will be his final appearance in a green shirt.

"On February 20, 2012, I received my first call-up to represent my country,” he said in a social media post.

“In all honestly, hand on heart, there are no words that could do justice to that feeling.

“Since then, 102 caps, 11 goals and two European Championships,” he added.

“Now, 11 years later, I have come to a point, one that truth be told you never think is going to come but here we are, where I am announcing my retirement from international football at the end of the 2023 season.”

Derry-native McClean, who plays for League Two club Wrexham, went on to say that he had spoken with manager Stephen Kenny to confirm that Ireland’s New Zealand match in November, which is due to be played at the Aviva Stadium, will be “the last time that I will celebrate pulling on the green jersey as a player”.

He added that the final game would “give me a chance to say goodbye to the best fans in the world”.

“It has the meant the absolute world and more to be able to pull on the green jersey with honour, step out onto a football pitch - especially at the Aviva Stadium - to represent our great country, standing singing Amhrán na bhFiann ready to go out into battle with your fellow countrymen,” McClean said.

“Nothing has ever come close. I gave absolutely everything I had of myself to ensure that I did the jersey, the fans and the country proud, and know that I never took it for granted each time. I hope that showed.”

The footballer admits that it will be “heartbreaking” not to be involved with his national team beyond this year, but explained that he felt “now is the right time to step aside without any regrets”.

“I lived my own and every young Irish footballer’s dream - and represented this country with pride,” he added.

Today the football star's current club Wrexham wished him well as he heads towards his final game for Ireland, stating: "Everyone at Wrexham AFC wishes James well on his retirement from international football, and his final fixture against New Zealand in November."