James McClean is given a guard of honour by his team-mates after his final international game
He insists there will be no going back on his own plan to retire from international football but James McClean says he has faith that the current crop of players can bring the "glory days” for Irish football.
McClean won his 103rd cap in the 1-1 draw at home to New Zealand and while he will continue his playing career with Wrexham, he admits that even the emotion of playing for his country, the fact that other players like Glenn Whelan came out of retirement to play for Ireland again, and the possibility of doing that under a new manager if Stephen Kenny exits, as expected, his Ireland days are done.
"I think this is the right time to go. Not many people get to go out on their terms. I’ve had the absolute time of my life. I’ve achieved so much beyond my wildest dreams, I’ve had my time,” McClean says.
“The lads were saying tonight, ‘Why didn’t you cry? I would have cried’ but I don’t see the need to cry because like I said, I had the time of my life, I’ve had so many happy memories, and it’s been an absolute honour,” he added. McClean said playing at Euro 2016 with Ireland was a career high and he expects Ireland to get back on that big stage.
“I’m going to call it how I see it. There is so much ability here. These lads are young, that’s not making excuses for them. International football is a whole different level," he said.
“These will get better with experience and you know with that experience I’ve no doubt that down the lines these lads will bring the glory days back and when I say glory days I mean qualifying for major tournaments because they just need to believe in themselves, because the ability is there, it’s justRead on belfasttelegraph.co.uk