James McClean, a native of Co Derry, has signed with Wrexham AFC, the Welsh club announced today, August 4.
McClean, 34, signed with Wrexham for an undisclosed fee from Wigan Athletic.
Described as a versatile midfielder by Wrexham AFC, McClean has signed on for a one-season contract with the club based at STōK Cae Ras, the world's oldest international football stadium, with the option of an extension.
The Irishman, who earned his 100th international cap this summer, will link up with the squad next week, and will not be available for Saturday’s match against MK Dons.
“I’m absolutely delighted to sign for Wrexham," McClean said.
"It’s a project that is very exciting and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.
“The Club has ambitions to go even further, and I’m a very ambitious person. I’m someone who is driven and I want to be a part of that journey.”
Great to have you on board, James!August 4, 2023
In a statement announcing the signing, Wrexham noted that the Derry-born wide man started his career with Institute and then spent three years with Derry City before making his move into English football with Sunderland in 2011.
After two seasons in the top flight, he moved to Wigan in 2013 – spending two seasons with The Latics – before returning to the top flight when he joined West Bromwich Albion in 2015.
He made more than 100 appearances across three seasons with the Baggies, before a three-year spell with Stoke City, and then returned to Wigan in 2021.
He helped them to promotion from EFL League One in his first season, and then was an ever-present in the EFL Championship in the 2022/23 campaign.
His two-year second spell with Wigan took him beyond 550 domestic career appearances – scoring 69 goals – while he has netted 11 times in his 100 international appearances too.
On his signing, Wrexham AFC manager Phil Parkinson said: “I’m really pleased with the signing of someone with the calibre of James.
“As I said in the summer, it’s about being patient and getting the players in who can be strong additions to our squad moving forward.”
You can watch James McClean's first Wrexham AFC interview here:
McClean isn't the only Irish player on the Wrexham squad - he's joined by Kilkenny native Thomas O'Connor, Limerick native Anthony Forde, Liam McAlinden (who was born in England but represents Ireland through his parents,) and Cork native Eoghan O'Connell, who signed on earlier this year.
Club co-owner Ryan Reynolds had difficulty pronouncing O'Connell's classic Irish name and turned to fellow club owner Rob McElhenney for guidance.
Incoming… pic.twitter.com/tZOmtY81rV— Rob McElhenney (@RMcElhenney) January 31, 2023
McElhenney and Reynolds' takeover of Wrexham AFC has been chronicled in the recent FX documentary series "Welcome to Wrexham," which follows the club's attempt to gain promotion from the National League - England's fifth tier - during the 2021/22 season.
Meanwhile, despite his struggles to pronounce O'Connell's first name, Reynolds does have Irish roots of his own and has described himself as "pretty damn Irish" in the past.