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Martin O’Neill to talk with McClean over poppy row

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Martin O’Neill has revealed he will have talks with winger James McClean over his decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy as he could be targetted by Northern Ireland fans.

McClean initially represented Northern Ireland at the U21 level before he decided to play for the Republic of Ireland. The winger could feature in Thursday’s fixture between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The 29-year-old’s decision not to wear the Remembrance Day poppy will be an issue on Thursday, and Republic of Ireland manager  Martin O’Neill says he will speak to him.

“James had an illness in the family yesterday, so I wasn’t able to get a chance to speak to him. He has just come in this morning, although he trained this morning, and I will speak to him over the next 24 hours,” O’Neill told Sky Sports.

“Naturally, I’m hoping that it won’t be an issue, but I don’t know.

“James is well fit to handle himself, as people know,” O’Neill added. “James made his points clear on the poppy situation three or four years ago when he was at Wigan.

“He gave a statement and he tried to be as respectful as he could in that statement, and I think he needs to be respected for his decision.

“The part of Ireland he was brought up in, it’s close to home for him and he has his opinions on it and we’re in a world nowadays where people should respect people’s opinions.”