James McClean’s cryptic posts puts his Stoke City future at risk despite him being player of the season back in 2020.
In mid-July, the 32 year old Irishman appeared to take aim at his own club, and now he has been left out of their pre-season trip to Belfast.
McClean is known to be controversial when it comes to his online content, and it seems that is the reason along with claims he’s supposedly injured.
This means his chances of picking up appearances are looking set to be not as many as we have seen in previous seasons.
Former Northern Ireland manager O’Neill said McClean has ‘a lot of work to do’ to get back into his first team.
Recently he has been doing some messing on Instagram and this time it’s not the England team that are at living rent free in his mind.
It looks like his own club Stoke City are on the receiving end of the Ireland winger’s social media teasing, but now it may have landed him in hot water.
McClean’s contract with the Potters expires next summer but it seems like he will be looking for a new club a lot sooner than that.
Stoke has confirmed their squad numbers for the upcoming season and it sees McClean lose number 11 shirt to Alfie Doughty, and has now dropped to number 30.
The Derry native was also excluded from a 27-man squad that will travel to Belfast for a training camp.
On Monday night, McClean posted a picture of himself in Stoke City gear along with the caption “Beg me” before sharing a famous Conor McGregor clip in which the MMA fighter says “I’d like to take this chance to apologise to absolutely nobody.”
Clearly something has gone on behind the scenes. Whatever he means by it all, it seems unlikely that McClean will be starting for Stoke during the upcoming campaign.
The 32-year-old joined the Championship outfit from West Brom just after the Potters were relegated from the Premier League in 2018.
He has gone on to make 111 appearances for the Staffordshire outfit and picked up their player of the year award in 2020.
If he does make a switch to a new club in England, it will his fifth in the country, having previously turned out for Sunderland and Wigan Athletic before moving to West Brom and then Stoke.
Now that he’s one of the senior members of Stephen Kenny’s international squad, the Ireland boss will be keeping a close eye on McClean’s next move.
McClean picked up his 80th cap in the friendly against Qatar back in March, scoring the goal that put Ireland 1-0 up.
He also appeared as a substitute against Serbia and Luxembourg during the same international window, something which Stoke manager Michael O’Neill didn’t take kindly to.
“It was nice to see James get his 80th cap,” O’Neill said at the time. “I didn’t see the goal. But I didn’t expect him to play as much when he was away.
“I had a conversation with Stephen Kenny on two occasions about James’s involvement. We didn’t think he was fit.”