James McClean opens up on 'disrespectful' Ireland omission by Stephen Kenny

James McClean opens up on 'disrespectful' Ireland omission by Stephen Kenny

Former Ireland player James McClean has said that Stephen Kenny's decision to omit him from the Ireland squad for the Euro qualifiers in October left a sour taste in his mouth, and this was a big factor in him retiring from international football

McClean, heading into the October international window, had over 100 caps for his country but was left out of the squad for the likes of Ryan Manning and Liam Scales. The Derry native, who joined Wrexham last year, was left out of the squad for the first time in 12 years, and wasn't happy with Kenny's selection choice.

McClean has now opened up about a phone call he had between him and the former Ireland manager. The Ireland legend claimed that being left out of the Ireland squad was a deciding factor in his walking away from the national team in November.

"I remember a phone call that I had with the manager of Ireland at the time, and I told him about the move to Wrexham; he couldn’t wait to get off the phone. Ultimately, I would say that contributed a major factor in my decision to step away from Ireland," said McClean

“In a way, sometimes you make the decision, but you are made to walk the plank in a way. For me, it was like, if I don’t walk away now, I may never get the opportunity to say goodbye on my terms.

“That was a contributing factor, definitely, moving to Wrexham. But it turned out to be a successful one, and it’s a move that no one forced me to take. I took it myself, and I’m glad I did.”

James McClean powers through for Ireland against the USA. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

McClean also took issue with Stephen Kenny's "drop down the divisions" comments in his press conference and felt that this was disrespectful.

"What I will say, you were just let down by all the stuff around you; you couldn’t attract top players. It was not just a wage; you have to have an infrastructure. Proper training facilities, proper stadiums. It is very difficult to even attract the best Irish players in the UK who might be dropping down the divisions," said Kenny in October.

McClean feels that Kenny wasn't fond of McClean's move to Wrexham in the lower divisions of English football, and this contributed to his omission.

“First time in 12 years that I was ever left out of the squad," said McClean. “I thought it was very disrespectful.

“Sometimes all you need to know is when you have a phone call and you can’t get a man off the phone, and then when you have another phone call and all of a sudden they can’t get off the phone (quick enough).

“That speaks to what he thought about the move. At the time, he was obviously the Ireland manager, and he made his decision. I don’t think he was on-board with the decision (to move to Wrexham).”