Wigan new-boy McClean: I had to leave Sunderland

The 24-year-old admits that a series of off-field incidents led to a loss of form and confidence at the Stadium of Light, but feels he will have regrets after exiting the club
Former Sunderland winger James McClean has insisted he had to leave the club after signing for Wigan.

The 24-year-old made 69 appearances over two seasons at the Stadium of Light, but struggled for form through much of last season despite only missing two Premier League games.

However, his time on Wearside was littered with off-field incidents, including the refusal to wear a shirt with a poppy woven into it to commemorate Remembrance Day last year which was met with death threats.

"I really do believe this is the right move for me," he told The Shields Gazette. "Obviously things had gone wrong for me at Sunderland.

"I'm fully aware that I made mistakes, and while I would also admit to losing my confidence, I certainly wasn’t enjoying my football.

"I’ve already held my hand up admitting the mistakes I’ve made, but I also believe I’ve learned from those experiences, and moved on.

"The move to Wigan is the right one, but I will have regrets leaving Sunderland."

Wigan boss Owen Coyle, who led his side to an opening-day 4-0 win over Barnsley last week, revealed that McClean had accepted a pay cut in order to move to the DW Stadium.

He will hope to make his debut for the club in Sunday's Community Shield against Manchester United.