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The Sunderland defender praised his team mate for his resilience and believes that he can continue to improve for both club and country

Sunderland defender John O'Shea believes that his team mate James McClean has 'come on leaps and bounds' since joining the Black Cats in 2011 and says that the winger can continue to develop.

Speaking ahead of Ireland's international friendly against Greece at the Aviva Stadium, stand-in captain O'Shea referenced McClean's 'surprise factor' which gave him an edge over competition.

"He’s come on in leaps and bounds. He was the surprise factor last season. He came in when the manager took over, he got into the team and took everything right in his stride," O'Shea told reporters yesterday.

However, the 31-year-old defender believes that the former Derry City player has found it a bit more difficult in his second season, since teams are aware of his quality, but stated that he would take it 'in his stride'.

He said: "You are obviously more aware of a talent like that and now teams are marking him more tightly, they are doubling up on him. The manager left him out for a few games there as well because of the quality of the squad we have.

"It’s up to us to get the ball to James in better positions, get it to him quicker. It’s up to us to make sure we are giving the ball to him in better situations where he can show the talent that he undoubtedly has.

"Any time any young player plays for their country, it’s going to give him a fantastic boost, and I am sure knowing the type of character James is, he will take it all in his stride," said O'Shea.

The Republic of Ireland take on former European champions Greece tonight, Wednesday November 14 at the Aviva Stadium.


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