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Albion capture James McClean

22 June 2015

Pulis delighted to have winger on board

JAMES McClean today became Albion's first summer signing, citing Tony Pulis' ambitions for the new season as the driving force in his decision to move to The Hawthorns.

The 26-year-old, who has penned a three-year deal with a 12-month option in the Club's favour, has joined for an undisclosed fee from Wigan Athletic.

The Republic of Ireland international winger will wear the No.14 shirt in the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League campaign.

He said: "I'm delighted. I've played in the Premier League before and not only am I back here, but I'm with a stable top flight club and one that wants to push on.

"Tony Pulis told me what his plans were, where I would fit in. It was all very positive. The Premier League is where any player wants to be.

"He also told me he has a great dressing room, it's been a stable club - but he's made it clear he wants to push this club on. I'm very ambitious. Everything about this move seems right for me - I'm very positive about it.

"Once the Albion came in this was a move I was keen to get done - this is a big club and a new chapter for me."

Head coach Pulis welcomed his first arrival of the close season.

"He's got Premier League experience from his time with Sunderland," said Pulis.

"James has had a couple of indifferent years with Wigan but he did well at Sunderland and we're very pleased to have him on board.

"I am absolutely confident that he can fulfil the potential to come back and be a big player for us.

"He's got pace, he's left-footed - so he gives us a good balance in the side - and he can score goals."

Derry-born McClean established himself with his hometown club between 2008-11, making his name in the League of Ireland.

His exploits for Derry City – where he proved himself to be a committed and energetic winger with a keen eye for assists and goals - alerted the attention of Sunderland and he joined the north-east club in August 2011.

The wide man was handed his Barclays Premier League debut off the bench in December of that year before making his first start for the Black Cats in a 1-0 victory over Manchester City in January 2012.

His maiden goals followed just days later and he duly went on to enjoy a memorable first season in English top-flight football, scooping Sunderland’s Young Player of the Year Award at the end of the 2011/12 campaign.  

McClean’s impressive form for Sunderland – where he played alongside Craig Gardner and Stephane Sessegnon - saw him capped by the Republic of Ireland at senior level despite representing Northern Ireland’s Under-21 side.

A whirlwind 12 months was rounded off by his inclusion in Giovanni Trapattoni’s Euro 2012 squad, where he made one substitute appearance as the Republic of Ireland bowed out in the group stages.

McClean made 41 appearances for Sunderland in the 12/13 season, racking up a total of 70 outings and 11 goals before signing for Wigan in the summer of 2013.

Lining up in the same squad as Callum McManaman, he made his bow in the FA Community Shield final at Wembley where the Latics went down 2-0 to Manchester United.

In two seasons at the DW Stadium, McClean made 86 appearances for Wigan and scored 10 goals, finishing last term as top goalscorer and walking away with the club’s Player of the Year Award as the Lancashire outfit suffered relegation to League One.

In total, McClean has been capped 30 times by Ireland – most recently in this month’s matches against England and Scotland - and hit the net four times.

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