Sunderland's James McClean rules out Northern Ireland rethink

James McClean celebrates with team-mates after his Sunderland goal
McClean (centre) scored his first Black Cats goal against Wigan on Tuesday

Sunderland's James McClean appears to have ruled out reversing his decision to declare for the Republic of Ireland.

McClean played for Northern Ireland at youth and Under-21 level but opted for the Republic last year after turning down a Northern Ireland senior call-up.

New Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill said earlier this week that McClean was on his "radar" but those hopes appear to have been dashed.

"I have declared myself for the Republic," McClean told the Irish News.

"That's where I see my [international] future.

"If I don't get called up, then I'll live with that but I have confidence in my own ability that I will get a call-up at some stage with the Republic of Ireland.

"Hopefully this now puts this matter to bed."

McClean, who moved to Sunderland from Derry City last August, revealed that he had been contacted by the new Northern Ireland manager in recent days.

"He rang me just to congratulate me about how the last two [Sunderland] games have gone and to see how I'm getting on.

"He said he would keep in touch with me and he'll call up and see me, which I appreciate, but I just want to put the Northern Ireland thing to bed now."

After a number of outings as substitute, the Derry-born player made his first Sunderland start in the New Year's Day win over Manchester City and he scored in the 4-1 win over Wigan on Tuesday.