Former Ireland international Niall Quinn has backed his fellow countryman James McClean after he had a tunnel spat at Stoke during the midweek.
Quinn has warned the West Brom winger to kick on from the incident at Stoke or watch his career head into freefall.
McClean has courted controversy since arriving in English football seven years ago and he is currently enduring a tough start to life in the Sky Bet Championship.
But Quinn is convinced that the player he signed for Sunderland seven years ago can emerge from this latest brush with trouble by allowing his undoubted natural talent to shine.
“Players can dip,” said Quinn, as quoted by Independent.
“As long as James understands what his strengths are and doesn’t dip and puts in a performance.”
“When you’re having these arguments, whether they’re verbal or physical in the tunnel, you’ve got to stand up on the basis of ‘Well, I’ve done what I had to do today.”
“Otherwise, the guys are right to dig him out if he hasn’t done what he’s supposed to do. It’s either spirit-building or detrimental. It’s one or the other. If you’ve a sulker, you dip. If you’ve got someone who rolls their sleeves up, then you win respect.”
“It will be very interesting to see where it goes. I won’t be expecting James to be a shrinking violet here.”
“Two or three good matches and everyone forgets about the tunnel bust-up. But not doing that, and having these bust-ups and it will fizzle out for him.”