James McClean reveals post-retirement plans as Ireland legend sends emotional message to fans ahead of his final game
JAMES McCLEAN revealed he plans on bringing his family away for a holiday to Disneyland as he nears international retirement.
The 34-year-old will represent the Republic of Ireland for the 103rd and final time on Tuesday evening against New Zealand.
On October 5, the Wrexham star revealed his plans to retire from international football after tomorrow’s friendly at the Aviva Stadium.
Monday morning saw McClean take part in his last press conference as an international player.
And he used the time to reflect on the career, admitting to feeling a twinge of sadness on the eve of his farewell.
He said: “It means everything.
Read More on James McClean
“The Ireland jersey, along with the Derry City jersey, is a jersey that means more to me than anything else ever will and tomorrow night, for the last time, I will pull it on.
“When I say that out loud, it is a bit sad that that is going to be the case but look, tomorrow night when I pull it on, I will do do what I have done 102 times before and I will try and do it with as much pride and as much justice as possible because, like I said, there is no more special feeling than pulling on the green jersey and representing your country.”
While Tuesday will be the end of McClean’s international journey, he insisted that he has not intentions of leaving club football any time soon.
Most read in Football
However, he did reveal that, when the summer of 2024 rolls around, he plans on bringing his wife, Erin, and four kids on a well-earned trip to Disneyland.
He added: “I have no plans to hang up the boots any time soon.
“I am going to savour Tuesday and then I promised my wife and kids, because I never had a summer off in a long time, so we are going to go book Florida, go away for a month, and enjoy Disneyland.”
Tuesday looks to be the end of an era in more ways than one.
END OF AN ERA
Along with McClean, it is likely to be Stephen Kenny’s last game in charge of the Boys in Green.
The FAI are due to conduct a review of the 2023 campaign, and will likely let the ex-Dundalk boss go following a disastrous Euro 2024 qualifying run.
And while he insisted he wants to carry on at the helm, Kenny admitted the Association may not feel the same way.
Asked if he wants to stay after the Dutch defeat, Kenny said: “Obviously I’m biased in this viewpoint, yeah, of course I do.
“I may be in a minority.
“I have seen what the team can become now. All of those players have come through together and you have a bit of pain with that.
“The group was an exceptionally tough group but there has been a lot of pain trying to rebuild a team. You’re not going to rebuild a team without setbacks, it’s not realistic.
“People go on about my record, but the first 10 games, or the first part of it with Covid, I don’t think that’s fair at all that that’s referred to overall in my record.
“I said that before and it wasn’t well received.
“But there was one window with 12 players missing and not many of them had Covid, and that was without injuries, it was just from the Covid side of it.
“I feel like I’m trying to justify it, but from then on to tonight, since our first win, we had 11 wins, 11 defeats and six draws and played a lot of the top nations.
“Obviously we’re disappointed with the lack of points and the games against Greece, of course I am. I take responsibility for that.
“But of course I think the team will be a really good team. There are some players missing, you talk about cutting edge players, like Chiedozie Ogbene and Michael Obafemi who provide real pace, they are two amongst others who are not there.”