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done deal James McClean backed to enjoy extended career as he gets in extra training with fitness guru


James McClean has re-joined Wigan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

James McClean has re-joined Wigan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

James McClean has re-joined Wigan. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Wigan manager Leam Richardson has backed James McClean to play into his late 30s after he sealed a return to the club.

The 32-year-old is back at the DW Stadium six years after leaving the Latics and was presented to the fans ahead of Tuesday night’s home game against Wycombe.

McClean arrives for an undisclosed fee from Stoke and will add a wealth of experience to Richardson’s team, having made over 300 appearances in the Premier League and Championship.

It is hoped he might be available for Wigan’s League One trip to Charlton on Saturday.

McClean left Stoke after his relationship with manager Michael O'Neill became fraught in recent months, with the Potters boss disappointed by the winger's eagerness to play for the Republic of Ireland in March despite injury concerns.

Now he has been welcomed to Wigan by Richardson, who hopes the winger can have a big impact in his second spell with the club.

"He is a fantastic professional and his career goes before him, and he’s going to have another five or six years of quality in my opinion with the Championship and Premier League appearances that he’s got," said Richardson.

"He brings a real experience to the group. We know what he brings on the pitch, but again, I think it’s imperative that we get another four or five bodies in to support what we’ve started with because we want to be competitive in every game because this league is tough.

"Across the country, there are some top coaches, top players, and top teams and we want to compete with that."

McClean has been getting back into shape ahead of his move to Wigan by visiting fitness guru Matt Radcliffe, who has worked with some of the game's biggest names in recent years.

Radcliffe, who had spells as a lead physio with Southampton and Manchester United, has worked with Luke Shaw, Robin van Persie and John Stones and is respected as one of the most forward thinking fitness experts in football.

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