Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli has said that Sunderland midfielder James McClean has a chance of starring for the Irish at Euro 2012 this summer and can force his way into the starting 11.
The 23-year-old has enjopyed a staggering rise to prominence since joining the Black Cats from Derry City last summer, establishing himself as a first-team regular on Wearside, making his senior international debut, and seeing his season culminate with a place in Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for Euro 2012.
Trapattoni has attempted to calm the excitement with regards to McClean, staying loyal to his senior players who got the Boys in Green through the qualifying stages, but Tardelli admits that, whilst the winger is Ireland's future, he could also be their present.
"He is a good boy. He wants to work because he knows he needs to learn many things," the assistant told reporters.
"He is strong physically and I think he will be for us a good player."
When asked about what role McClean may fill this summer, Tardelli responded: "I don't know. He is in the squad, but we have also other players like [Damien] Duff, like [Stephen] Hunt, like [Aiden] McGeady.
"Surely, he is the future, but maybe it is possible also this time."
Ireland meet Bosnia-Herzegovina in a friendly on Saturday and Tardelli believes that captain Robbie Keane, who has been strugging with a hamstring problem in recent weeks, should be fit to play some part.
He continued: "The doctor has spoken to him and with the [LA] Galaxy doctor, and he said there is no injury.
"I think he will be ready for the next match."