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Monday 06 February 2012

O'Shea hails McClean talent

Sunderland winger lauded after scoring the winner at Stoke

James McClean scored his third goal for Sunderland in Saturday's victory over Stoke

Sunderland defender John O'Shea has hailed the influence of James McClean, saying the winger has been "inspirational" for the club.

McClean scored the winner for Sunderland in Saturday's 1-0 victory at Stoke in the Barclays Premier League, collecting the ball midway inside the Stoke half and drifting past two defenders before coolly slotting home.

The 22-year-old, who joined the club from Derry last year, has now scored three goals since the start of the year as he flourishes under the guidance of manager Martin O'Neill.

"He is performing brilliantly for us, he has had a great, great couple of months"
- Martin O'Neill

And O'Shea believes McClean has made a significant impact over the past few months.

"James has been superb - his goal against Stoke was fantastic and he really has been inspirational for us over the last few weeks," O’Shea told the club's official website.

"The goal came from a nice little move and you saw the composure James had to slot the ball home with his right foot.

"It was a fantastic finish and James is getting better and better. He's dealing with opponents well, learning the game quickly and adapting very well to the Premier League.

"James knows that different full-backs cause different problems. He can cut inside, outside and threaten in behind with his pace and power, which causes defenders lots of problems."

O'Neill, who took over at Sunderland at the beginning of December, said he is delighted to watch McClean shine since he made his senior debut against Blackburn.

"He is performing brilliantly for us," said O'Neill. "He has had a great, great couple of months. Considering everything, I thought he took his goal brilliantly.

"I didn't know him at all until I arrived at the football club, so to see him blossoming out there has been very pleasing for everyone, obviously myself included."

Sunderland, who have now won five of their last six League matches, host Arsenal at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

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Key Points

  • Sunderland's James McClean hits winner in victory over Stoke
  • Defender John O'Shea says winger's form has been inspirational
  • McClean has scored three times since start of 2012