A whirlwind of a winger, twisting, turning, destructive. A force of nature on Ireland’s left flank that helped to disguise the frailty of their other offensive options was a description used by The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards to describe James McClean on his performances last season, based on current form, he is anything but the player those words describe. Yet, there is a reason Stoke City bought him for an initial £5million for the 29-year-old Republic of Ireland winger, with the potential for the fee to rise to £6million with add-ons, he has the ability, tenacity and determination to be the X-Factor of Stoke City.
On form, McClean would be an absolute powerhouse for Stoke City on the left flank, more importantly, he is capable of providing quality service for Benik Afobe in the box, in a season where Stoke City have failed to get goals, having an on-form James McClean would be a massive difference for The Potters, but currently his performances have been subpar, he is not being the team player that runs for his team that Gary Rowett described him as, far from it.
Instead of letting his performances do the talking it has been his off-field matters that have garnered attention. Now, these matters are totally not his fault, some of the criticism he has gotten form Stoke City supporters have been absolutely disgraceful, but you just wonder how much has this off-field drama affected him, he looks bereft of confidence, is lacking touch and most importantly tenacity when he plays.
Gary Rowett and the rest of the Stoke City support staff and players have to persist with James McClean, give him a safe place to really relax, I have the utmost confidence that the Man From Derry will overtime be Stoke City’s X-Factor.