James McClean leaving Italian defenders falling over themselves at Euro 2016 during that famous Irish victory.  (Credit: Al Robinson)

James McClean on being back home in Derry
Published: June 18, 2017

James McClean wears his heart on his sleeve and his love for Derry in ink on his body. Speaking on this week’s Irishman Abroad podcast with Jarlath Regan, amongst the topics in the wide ranging interview, the Ireland international talked about being back home in Derry towards the end of his playing career and after retirement. McClean also spoke about the tragic death of his friend and former teammate at Derry City Ryan McBride.


“I always said that I’d start my career at Derry and I want to finish at Derry,” said McClean in the interview with Jarlath Regan. “What age I go back at, I don’t know but I want to go back at an age when I’m actually able to give something.


“I don’t want to go back for show and I can hardly move or offer anything. I don’t want youngsters running by me and I can’t keep up.


“I’m a home boy,” said 28-year-old McClean who has the ‘Free Derry’ corner tattooed on his leg. “I have always said I want to live back in Derry when I retire. For me it would be ideal to play my last season or two at Derry.”


Derry City football club is very much at the heart of the city, which is why the sudden death earlier this year of inspirational Candystripes captain Ryan McBride was such a shock.


“Ryan’s death hit everyone very hard. He is the same age as me. We had a huge game at the end of the week against Wales. Credit to the manager (Martin O’Neill), he was brilliant and let me go home to say my goodbyes. The way I saw it, Ryan was a leader; he was a fighter.


“I had a huge game on the Friday against Wales,” said McClean who wore the number 5 jersey in the international match to honour McBride who wore the same number at Derry City. “I wanted to go out and put in a performance that does him proud, does justice to the kind of player and man that he was. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well.


“He was a mate of mine but he has a family and a girlfriend who have lost a son, a fiancé, a brother. There are in a lot worse situation than I am in. If I’m beating myself up, I have to think how they are feeling.”


You can listen back to the full interview here and amongst the recent interviews from the extensive back catalogue is one Jarlath Regan carried out with Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman (available here).

Leave a Comment

Macdara Ferris

Macdara Ferris is a contributor since 2007 to Hoops Scene (Shamrock Rovers' match day programme) and the co-author of Tallaght Time: Shamrock Rovers 2009 to 2012. He still believes that one day he will see Rovers win the FAI Cup. The first international game he attended was Luxembourg being dispatched 2-1 at Lansdowne Road by Jack Charlton's Ireland team.

He has been a writer with extratime.ie since 2012 covering the League of Ireland, the Irish National team and a few Champions League finals. He has also been known to pop up in far flung places like Ballybofey, Belfast, Berlin and Brazil to report for extratime.

More articles from Macdara Ferris

image description Photographer: Laszlo Geczo

Shaw happy with Hoops hitting European target

by Macdara Ferris on Sun, Oct 15 2017

With results having gone right for the Hoops, Shamrock Rovers have wrapped up European qualification for 2018 with three games ...... Read more

image description Photographer: Albert Thompson

League Preview: Shamrock Rovers -v- Sligo Rovers

by Macdara Ferris on Thu, Oct 12 2017

There was huge dissappointment for the Hoops on Tuesday night when they lost to Dundalk in extratime in the FAI ...... Read more

image description Photographer: Laszlo Geczo

We're in the playoffs now - let's bring it on: Shane Duffy

by Macdara Ferris on Thu, Oct 12 2017

For the Republic of Ireland, it was a win in Wales manufactured by a Derry trio. Martin O’Neill’s men earned ...... Read more

image description Photographer: Macdara Ferris

Postcard from Cardiff - Pressure win lands playoff prize

by Macdara Ferris on Wed, Oct 11 2017

It was a weekend that for this reporter began in Bristol and after a famous win in Cardiff may now ...... Read more

image description Photographer: Macdara Ferris

O'Neill praises McClean and players' performance as second place and playoff secured

by Macdara Ferris on Tue, Oct 10 2017

Just like he had done away from home in Vienna, Chisinau and now Cardiff, James McClean was on the scoresheet ...... Read more

image description

World Cup Qualifier Report: Wales 0 - 1 Republic of Ireland

by Macdara Ferris on Mon, Oct 09 2017

James McClean was the hero once again for the Republic of Ireland as his goal earned the Boys in Green ...... Read more