Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has backed James McClean to beat the boo boys – and confirmed his player has received death threats.
Derry born McClean has become a figure of hate in English football after his refusal to wear a poppy on Remembrance Sunday.
McClean was booed by fans at Fulham when he was introduced as a late substitute during Sunderland’s 3-1 win in London on Sunday.
Manager O’Neill was supportive of the player afterwards and revealed that police are taking the death threats seriously.
O’Neill said: “James will deal with it. I think it’s probably to do with the issue of last week. It’s a free choice in this world.
“James has lived with a lot of things, he’s getting death threats as well now so that doesn’t help.”
Police are investigating threads made against McClean by Manchester based doorman Cody Lachey who claims to be an ex-soldier.
Lachey claimed on Twitter that: “McClean deserves to be shot dead and have his body dragged past the Cenotaph.”
He later added: “I wanted him dead. But there’s no threat from me to James McClean now, although I can’t be held responsible for what other people may do.
“I think he’s a f***ing disgrace. I know I’ll end up in trouble and maybe in prison over this but I’m willing to go to court, that’s how strongly I feel.”
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