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Pulis reacts to McClean row

21 July 2015

Player reminded of 'responsibilities' to the Club

TONY Pulis has confirmed that he has spoken to James McClean about his responsibilities to the Club. 

The Republic of Ireland winger turned away and bowed his head during the playing of the National Anthem before Albion's friendly against Charleston Battery.

McClean's gesture prompted heated debate across social media platforms.

Pulis has now offered his own opinion.

The Albion head coach believes that McClean's gesture was ill-judged, but insists there have been no issues with his overall conduct during the three-game trip to USA and the recent stay in Austria.

Pulis says the matter has been dealt with internally.

“I didn’t see the situation but I had a chat with him and explained what we do as a football club and the way we are and I think he’s fine with everything," said Pulis.

“We’ve got Northern Ireland lads in the squad and he’s been absolutely fantastic with them, and the way he’s mixed and integrated with the group has been brilliant.

“I’ve seen the pictures and he’s got to turn towards the flag like everybody else has and he recognises that.

“He thought he was OK to close his eyes and put his head down in respect of both anthems.

“The trouble is he’s got to face the flag.” 

Pulis continued: “Obviously there has been a stigma around him and he doesn’t need to start that up again.

“So hopefully we’ve nipped it in the bud and we can get on with our things and he can get on with his things.

“I think the fact he’s part of what we’re trying to do is important.

“We want him to be as open and honest as he possibly can within the group and the group want to be as open and honest as they can with him.

“It’s just about integrating him and him understanding the rules we work to at the club and we’re all together on and off the pitch.

“Whatever you ask him to do, he does. He’s trained with a smile on his face and he’s been really good around the place.”

McClean scored a beauty in Albion’s final pre-season game in the US, netting the first in the 2-1 win against the Richmond Kickers.

Pulis added: “He’s been fantastic in his energy levels and the way he works.

“He’s been a fantastic player so far for us.”

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