Football/Soccer

James McClean injury doubt for Republic of Ireland Euro 2020 play-offs

James McClean is an injury doubt for the Republic of Ireland Euro 2020 play-offs
Andy Watters

JAMES McClean could miss the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2020 semi-final against Slovakia in Bratislava on March 26 after he suffered a medial ligament injury in his left knee.

The Derry man, who has posted a picture of himself wearing a leg brace on social media, is expected to spend several weeks on the sidelines after he was injured playing for his club Stoke City against Preston on Wednesday night.

After attempting to play through the pain, McClean was taken off by Potters manager Michael O'Neill.

“I took him off because he had hurt his knee in the first half in a tackle on the far side, and he did it again chasing a ball down in the corner," said O'Neill after the 2-0 defeat.

The Republic could meet O'Neill's Northern Ireland in the play-off final on March 31 if they beat Slovakia and the North account for Bosnia on the same date.

McClean had been in fine form for Stoke City, scoring in the wins against Charlton and Swansea City which helped pull O'Neill's side out of the Championship's bottom three.

If fit, he would be a certain starter in the vital clash in Slovakia and Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy will have his fingers crossed that he recovers in time. If not one possible makeshift solution would be to use Wolves defender Matt Doherty at left-back and push Sheffield United's Enda Stevens further forward. Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane and out of favour Burnley clubman Robbie Brady are other options.

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Football/Soccer