Sunderland’s David Meyler has defended team-mate James McClean’s decision not to wear a poppy on his jersey for their match against Everton.
The Derry-born winger caused some controversy by not donning the same style shirt, embroidered with the poppy symbol to mark Remembrance Sunday, as the rest of the Black Cats team but Meyler says the incident has been blown out of proportion.
“James is James,” Meyler told reporters. “James is his own man, I respect his decision. Obviously, his friends and family were involved in Bloody Sunday so it’s understandable.
“A lot of people have blown it up a bit too much. It’s not that big of a deal for him. It’s a family decision, it’s his call and I respect his decision. He’s a close pal of mine.
“I think people in England have jumped on the bandwagon a bit too easily and come out and nailed him and hammered him a bit and it’s a bit unfair.
“James showed that if you don’t want to wear it you don’t have to wear it. That was James’ decision.
“A lot of other players probably chose to wear them. That’s just the way it is and the club don’t force you to really do anything.”