The 52-year-old admits that dropping one of the players who helped the Boys in Green qualify for Poland-Ukraine would be a tough decision but thinks McClean has to goIreland hero Paul McGrath has urged Giovanni Trapattoni to take Sunderland winger James McClean to the European Championship this summer.
McClean, 22, has enjoyed a meteoric rise this season and continued his recent tremendous form in the weekend win over QPR.
He has gone from playing in the Airtricity Premier Division with Derry City to becoming a Premier League regular within a few months and McGrath says that he should now be part of the Euro 2012 squad.
“If I was Trapattoni I would definitely have him. The one worry is who would you drop? Who would be the man to lose his place because of that? And I wouldn’t know who that would be but I would definitely be bringing James along,” McGrath told reporters in Dublin.
After a string of impressive performances for the Black Cats, McClean made his Ireland debut as a late substitute against Czech Republic last month but had not been included in the original squad for that game.
Trapattoni has indicated that the Derry-born youngster is one for the future and, barring injury to other squad members, will not be going to Poland-Ukraine.
Nonetheless, former Aston Villa defender McGrath is of the belief that McClean would add something different to the squad.
“I think he does [bring something different]. He definitely needs to be looked at. I’ve watched him playing with Sunderland and I think he’s different class.
“He’s a big boy for starters, his control with the football, his crossing of the football, his speed, his strength, his size, he seems to have it all. How he was missed [by scouts] when he was younger I don’t know but he seems to have it all going for him.
“There’s nothing that seems to faze him, he’s one of those laid-back characters,” McGrath said.
McClean | Currently touch-and-go to be included in Ireland's Euro 2012 squad
McGrath, who represented the Boys in Green at three major finals - Euro 88 and World Cups in 1990 and 1994 - is adamant that the Republic can qualify from their group at the 2012 finals, even though they face world and European champions Spain, as well as Italy and Croatia.
The 52-year-old says that Ireland’s underdog status will be of benefit in Poland.
“Without a doubt I think they can get out of the group because if you look at the players we have [like] Robbie Keane [and] one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Shay Given. We have [Glenn] Whelan and [Keith] Andrews in midfield who will chase ball and will win it back for us.
“I am hoping that we’ll go out there and people will say ‘We’re going to finish bottom of the group’ because I don’t think we are. That’s a lovely feeling to go out there…and surprise a few people, including Spain.”
McGrath was speaking at the launch of the John Giles Walk of Dreams 2012 in Dublin.
The Walk of Dreams will take place at venues around Ireland on May 7. For more information visit the John Giles Foundation website.