One of the revelations of the 2011/12 Premier League season in England, dazzling young Sunderland AFC winger James McClean will travel to UEFA EURO 2012 as an exciting wildcard for the Republic of Ireland. Although born across the border in Northern Ireland, he made his senior debut for Giovanni Trapattoni's team in February 2012.
• A native of Londonderry, or Derry, his first taste of senior football was with local club Institute FC in the Irish League, but he opted to join League of Ireland club Derry City FC and made his debut at the age of 19 in 2008.
• Became a regular for Derry in 2009 and remained with the club following their enforced relegation from the Premier Division at the end of that season, helping them win immediate promotion in 2010, scoring eight goals in 30 First Division appearances.
• Outstanding displays in the 2011 Premier Division earned him a move to England, and although he was signed by Steve Bruce, it was not until the manager's mid-season replacement by Martin O'Neill, a fellow Ulsterman, that he made his Premier League debut.
• Appeared regularly for the Wearsiders after Christmas, scoring and creating several goals and receiving rave reviews from the English media.
• Although he had played junior representative football for Northern Ireland, he chose to pursue his senior career with the Republic and was given a warm reception at the Dublin Arena when he came on as a late substitute in the February 2012 friendly against the Czech Republic.
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