Formal Sunderland Striker Has Announces His “Heartbreaking” Decision.

, a former Sunderland player, has announced his international retirement.

James McClean of the Republic of Ireland has announced his ”


heartbreaking” decision to retire from international football at the end of the year.

The 34-year-old former Sunderland midfielder has 102 caps for his country, including a 3-0 win over Gibraltar in a Euro 2024 qualifier in June.


McClean, who is presently his country’s joint fifth most-capped player, has scored 11 goals in the green shirt and will make his final appearance for Stephen Kenny’s side in a friendly against New Zealand on November 21.

McClean explained his decision on social media: “On February 20th, 2012, I received my first call-up to represent my country.”

“In all honesty, hand on heart, there are no words that could do that feeling justice.” 102 caps, 11 goals, and two European Championships later.

“Now, 11 years later, I have arrived at a crossroads, one that, to be ho

nest, you never expect to see, but here we are, where I am announcing my retirement from international football at the end of the 2023 season.”

The New Zealand game will be my final opportunity to enjoy wearing the green jersey as a player and bid farewell to the best fans in the world.

“It has meant everything and more to be able to pull on the green jersey with pride, step out onto a football pitch – especially the Aviva Stadium – to represent our great country, standing singing Amhran na bhFiann ready to go into battle with your fellow countrymen.”

“Nothing has come close.” I sacrificed everything I had to make sure I did the jersey, the supporters, and the country proud, and I never took it for granted each time. I hope that came across.

“It will be heartbreaking not to be involved beyond this year, but I believe the time has come to step aside without regret.”

“I lived my own and every young Irish footballer’s dream – and represented this country with pride.”

McClean also praised his management, teammates and staff, supporters, and wife Erin before concluding, “Thank you, Ireland – it’s been the biggest privilege and, as always, an honour.”

McClean, who was born in Derry, joined League Two side Wrexham in August on a one-year deal with an option to extend.

He has faced controversy and abuse, particularly after refusing to wear a poppy during Remembrance Day commemorations when playing for Sunderland in 2012.

While he began his international career with Northern Ireland as a youth, McClean eventually chose to play for the Republic at senior level, making his debut in February 2012 as a late substitution in a friendly against the Czech Republic.

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