James McClean says McManaman and Gardner helped convince him of West Brom switch

Both players were former teammates of McClean's, and they did their bit to underline the attraction of joining West Brom and the club's manager Tony Pulis.

New West Brom star James McClean has told the Birmingham Mail that he spoke to two players at the Hawthorns who helped encourage him to make the move to the Baggies.

The Irishman left Wigan after a disappointing two years at the club, with the Latics being FA Cup champions and playing in Europe despite being in the Championship when he joined, and then slipping down to League One after being relegated last season.

But Callum McManaman, who like McClean joined from Wigan earlier this year, and Craig Gardner, who the 25-year-old played with at Sunderland, both had only good things to say about the club and its manager Tony Pulis.

“I get on well with Callum and I know Craig Gardner well from Sunderland too," McClean is quoted as saying in the Mail. "I’ve been chatting to them about it. They told me it was a great club with a brilliant manager whose record speaks for itself. I want us to push on next season."

McClean also said that the chance to play Premier League football and get back on the scene for the Republic of Ireland was a big draw as he sought to leave Wigan.

“I want to be playing at the highest level too to ensure I give myself the best chance of being involved at international level," he added.

The challenge for McClean next season?

When he broke through at the Stadium of Light in the 2011-12 season, big things were expected of the former Derry player. 

McClean scored 11 goals for the Black Cats in 18 months of first team action, and ended up winning the club's Young Player of the Season award.

But since then, the winger has slipped from the radar at club football at least, and the move to Wigan obviously didn't work out.

He is plenty young enough to get his head down and work hard to return to form at a Premier League club, and McClean is lucky to have an international manager in Martin O'Neill who has kept faith in him.

Much like McManaman, he has the quality, it's about keeping fit and taking any chances that come his way.

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