Sunderland’s James McClean praised by boss Martin O’Neill

Dated: 24/11/2012'Zoltan Gera challenges Sunderland's James McClean for the ball during the Premier League match between Sunderland and West Brom at the Stadium of Light' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
Dated: 24/11/2012'Zoltan Gera challenges Sunderland's James McClean for the ball during the Premier League match between Sunderland and West Brom at the Stadium of Light' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES

JAMES McClean has impressed Martin O’Neill with his desire to return from a stomach bug as quickly as possible.

The Sunderland manager revealed that the winger was in hospital on a saline drip on the eve of last weekend’s matchday and spent two nights under medical supervision.

But even when he was checking out of hospital on Saturday morning, the 23-year-old was exploring ways of getting to London to see Sunderland’s game against QPR.

And this week the Republic of Ireland international has worked hard to ensure he is fit and raring to go for the game against Norwich City.

O’Neill said: “I’m glad to say that James McClean is doing all right after a very painful problem with stomach cramps.

“He has trained the last couple of days, and has put himself forward for the Norwich game.

“He has been keen to put himself up for selection despite being so ill recently, and that’s great.

“He was actually trying to put himself in contention before he had even checked himself out of hospital last weekend!

“I spoke to him at 11am last Saturday when he hadn’t even checked out of the hospital at the time, and he wanted to know how he could get down to watch the game – which was very impressive. He has trained several times this week, which is good, and he’s been getting a bit stronger with every session.”

O’Neill admitted that McClean’s absence from the bench at Loftus Road was a blow for Sunderland.

And the Sunderland boss is hoping that the winger is now back on track after what has proven to be a difficult second season for him in Premier League football.

“We’re hoping those tweeting affairs are a thing of the past, and he can learn from it, but in fairness to the lad he is showing the right attitude.

“And I don’t think that we would want to dismiss James’s efforts this season.

“It has been a learning curve for him.

“He was a miss for us at QPR because he would have been a good subsitute to call upon in that particular game, but he has a chance now of being involved this weekend, and it’s pleasing to know that we’ll likely be able to call upon him for tomorrow’s game.”