It may have only been his third senior start for Martin O'Neill's Black Cats, but James McClean is making quite a name for himself on Sunderland's left wing.
The 22-year-old live wire from Derry got his chance again yesterday from the start against Peterborough in the FA Cup. His impressive display was marked with his second goal in red and white; a glancing header beyond the efforts of Joe Lewis to effectively kill off the tie at 2-0.
McClean is an old fashioned type of winger who is fast, possesses a strong left foot and is direct in his wing play.
McClean was signed in the summer from League of Ireland side Derry City but didn't manage an appearance under the Steve Bruce regime.
Since Martin O'Neill took over in early December, James McClean has figured increasingly and last week scored his first goal for the club against Wigan.
Martin O'Neill said of the young winger: "We took the chance with him, when he came on against Blackburn he electrified the place, just gave us fresh impetus when perhaps we might've been searching for extra idea."
Unfortunately for Northern Ireland; the place of McClean's birth, the youngster is the latest of a string of players to turn their back on Northern Ireland in favour of an international career with the Republic.
Much like Darron Gibson and Shane Duffy before him, McClean has recently reiterated his desire to turn out for his adopted Republic. If he keeps up his impressive form he may be able to push Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady for a place in Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland Euro 2012 squad.
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