Gillespie - McClean is wrong
Former winger accuses youngster of using religion as an excuse
Last Updated: June 6, 2012 6:10pm
James McClean: Winger blasted for decision to represent Republic
Keith Gillespie believes James McClean had 'no intention' of representing Northern Ireland at senior level - and has accused him of using religion as an excuse.
McClean, who is in Giovanni Trapattoni's squad for Euro 2012, opted for the Republic despite representing Northern Ireland at U21 level, claiming that he didn't feel comfortable playing for them as a Catholic.
But Gillespie, who was capped 86 times by Northern Ireland, doesn't believe his reasons.
He told Beyondthepitch: "I think McClean was clutching at straws with those remarks and trying to come up with some sort of excuse.
"I'm of the firm belief that if you're born in Northern Ireland, you should not have the option of playing for the Republic.
"James McClean is a prime example. He had no intention of ever playing for the Northern Ireland senior team.
"He made some excuses in relation to being a Catholic, but you look at some of our greatest and most capped players who are Catholic. People like Pat Jennings, Mal Donaghy, Martin O'Neill and Gerry Armstrong.
"It's disappointing that players feel that there's sectarianism in the game in Northern Ireland."