Egan aims to follow McClean's path

03 June 2012 01:47

John Egan is taking inspiration from club-mate James McClean as he makes his way in international football.

The 19-year-old Sunderland defender made his debut for Ireland Under-21s in their 2-1 friendly defeat to Denmark last Monday, and will hope for another chance as they take on Italy with three precious Euro 2013 qualification points at stake.

But as the under-21s go about their business at Sligo's Showgrounds, McClean will be on duty with the senior side in Hungary as Giovanni Trapattoni's men continue their preparations for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine. Egan said: "It gives all the young players hope."

A year ago, 23-year-old McClean was playing his football in Ireland for Derry City, but after breaking into the Black Cats' first team in December, he has enjoyed a meteoric rise.

Egan continued: "When you see what James has done in six months, it just shows that if you get your chance too and you take it, then it could turn out like that.

"He's made the Euros in six months - that's a very hard thing to do - but he's done it and I'm delighted for him. A year ago, he came over to us and he was with the reserves and he was doing very well and got his chance, and six months later, he is in the Euros.

"He deserves it. He has been unbelievable in games and he has scored great goals. He's a great lad as well and a good friend of mine, so I'm delighted for him. I hope he does well at the Euros."

Egan was already on Sunderland's books when McClean arrived in a bargain £350,000 switch from Derry last summer, and it did not take long for the winger to make an impression.

The Cork-born player said: "After a few games, you could see he had something. He impressed me straight away with his directness and running at players.

"He's a great man to have in your team because he covers every inch of grass on that left-hand side. He's a very good player and he has obviously shown that."

Source: PA