Wigan Athletic boss Shaun Maloney has said he was ‘really disappointed’ by James McClean’s exit to Wrexham.
Wigan Athletic lost the Republic of Ireland international to the League Two new boys on the eve of the new season last Friday.
McClean, 34, has moved to the National League champions on an initial one-year deal with the club holding an option for an extension on top of that next summer.
Maloney has told Wigan Today: “I was really disappointed. I really wanted to keep James and, as he put on his social media, I wanted him to be captain of the team this year. Look, I understand the decision he’s made, and I’ll never say a bad word against him.
“He played last year when he hadn’t been paid, and he trained hard every day, he gave me absolutely everything. He just came to a decision that he would get more security at a different club.
“I would have loved him to have stayed, he decided he needed that security, and I respect that. We’re both going to have to move on, that happens in football, sometimes things are taken out of your control.”
Blow for Wigan
As Maloney has alluded to, it is a big blow for Wigan to lose a player of McClean’s influence. He has bags of experience in the game and has made 553 appearances in all competitions to date, chipping in with 69 goals.
It didn’t seem to bother the Latics too much though on the opening day as they ran out 2-1 winners at Pride Park against Derby County after a brace by striker Charlie Wyke. Meanwhile, Wrexham were thumped 5-3 on their own patch by MK Dons. The pair face each other in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night at the Racecourse Ground.
Wigan first signed McClean back in 2013 from Sunderland and he spent two years with them during his first stint. He then left for West Brom and had a further spell at Stoke City before returning to the club in 2021.
The pacey wide man dropped into the third tier to come back and helped the Latics gain promotion at the first time of asking under former boss Leam Richardson. He couldn’t prevent them from relegation from the Championship though last term, despite featuring in 48 games, and he has now moved on for a new challenge in Wales.