Former West Brom, Sunderland and Stoke City man announces retirement after ‘heartbreaking’ decision

James McClean is closing a chapter on his footballing career. (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)James McClean is closing a chapter on his footballing career. (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
James McClean is closing a chapter on his footballing career. (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
A chapter is closing on the career of the forward who has more than 500 appearances in professional football.

Former West Brom midfielder James McClean has announced that he is retiring from international football.

The 34-year-old is hanging up the boots, and will represent the Republic of Ireland for the last time in their friendly match with New Zealand on Tuesday, November 21.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ireland have EURO 2024 qualifiers against Greece and Gibraltar next week, and they will act as two of the last three competitive matches that he will play for his country. He has made 102 caps, scored 11 goals and featured in two European Championship's following an 11-year career with his country.

He said in a statement published on the FAI website: “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.

“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.

“It will be heartbreaking not to be involved beyond this year, but I feel 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.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Thank you, Ireland - it’s been the biggest privilege and as always, an honour.”

McClean's been involved in English football since August 2011 after joining Sunderland from his boyhood club Derry City. He made 70 appearances for the Black Cats with 11 goals and eight assists.

He moved to Wigan, and made 171 appearances across two spells between 2013 to 2015, and 2021 to 2023. In between his two spells at Wigan, he played for West Brom where he spent three-years at The Hawthorn's after being signed by Tony Pulis.

McClean turned out 112 times for the Baggies following a reported £1.5m switch, and got five goals and seven assists. He was sold to Stoke City for a reported £5m, and there he made 111 appearances, with 19 assists and 12 goals.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He plays his club football for Ryan Reynolds owned Wrexham these days after leaving Wigan Athletic for a second time. He signed a one-year deal at the Racecourse Ground, though the Welsh club do have the option of an extension.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.