thumbnail Hello,

The Sunderland winger has apologised to his team-mates and management staff ahead of Ireland's friendly with Oman

Stephen Ward has said that the James McClean Twitter issue is now in the past as Ireland look towards their friendly international against Oman on Tuesday.

McClean was unhappy at being an unused substitute during Ireland's 2-1 World Cup qualification win over Kazakhstan on Friday and voiced his displeasure on Twitter.

He deleted his tweet 15 minutes later and has been reprimanded as to his conduct.

Ward admitted that McClean 'regrets' his actions, for which he apologised, and insists that the issue is in the past as Ireland focus on Oman at Craven Cottage.

"Players are entitled to their opinion," he said at AFC Wimbledon's Kingsmeadow. "If people aren't in the team, they're entitled not to be happy and you'd want them not to be happy.

"On a positive note, he was happy we won the game. I think it got blown a little bit out of proportion with frustration on the night and he's just a young lad who wants to play every game.

"When people step back and calm down, it makes the situation a whole lot better and that was the case with James. He's frustrated not to play and, 20 minutes after it, he calmed down and was just happy we got the result. Back on the plane home, he regretted that he'd put it up."

Ward also confirmed that McClean had been spoken to by Trapattoni and the Derry-born wideman also expressed his regret to the Ireland squad.

They [Trapattoni and McClean] spoke about it privately themselves," he said. "James apologised to the lads and we move on from it. We don't tend to dwell on these things. They're factors that other people can talk about outside the camp. For him, It's done and dusted now.

"It's a new campaign, a fresh start for everyone. The win on Friday night wasn't the prettiest but it's a win at the end of the day. Let's just hope we can move on and have a successful campaign."

Ward also shrugged off suggestions that there was unrest in the Ireland squad with Darron Gibson withdrawing before the Kazakhstan encounter.

"If you ask anyone that's in the squad, it's a very tight knit unit. Talk of unrest and that is just silly. Everyone is in it together behind the manager and that showed on Friday night when we stuck in there till the dying minutes.

We're not too pleased with the performance. Coming back with three points in the bag, that's all that matters really. To sneak it at the end is a big sense of relief. it's something we can build on.

"[The mood in the camp] is great. There's some stiffness in the legs. It was a long trip and it's good to get a session under our belts."

Ireland shipped yet another set-piece goal on Friday and Ward admitted that rectifying problems in the rearguard was a priority for the squad.

"It [set-pieces] will be worked on. It's not something we want to do all the time. Before that we were fairly soild at the back. It's about getting back to where we were and maintaining our high standards."

The Wolves man also admitted that the defence was lacking in the absence of Richard Dunne but maintained that the Aston Villa centre back has no intention of following Shay Given and Damien Duff into international retirement.

"You're always going to miss a player like that. Hopefully he'll be back for the Germany game.

"I've spoken to him a few times and he's keen to come back and play just as Robbie [Keane] was."

Ward expects that certain fringe players will be afforded game time during the Oman encounter.

"Tuesday is now a chance for the lads who haven't been in the team to get in and stake a claim," he said.

"Hopefully we can get a positive result and a couple of goals to kick us on and put us in good stead for the Germany game."

You can watch Ireland's friendly with Oman on Tuesday exclusively live through in the United Kingdom and Australia. Click here to subscribe.