James McClean says Arter made a mistake but that he now has the squad's full “backing”

James McClean has insisted someone would “have to put a gun to his head” to stop him turning out for the Republic of Ireland.

Harry Arter rejoined his teammates today for the first time since making himself unavailable for last month’s games against Wales and Poland.

Arter chose not to report for international duty after a row with Roy Keane.

McClean welcomed the midfielder back into the fold, but admitted he felt Arter was in the wrong - and McClean appears to have told him as much:

"Two men having a row that's unheard of,” McClean said sarcastically as he addressed reporters on Tuesday.

“So what? Someone had a go at someone, we're all grown men at the end of the day. You just get on with it. The morale in the squad is good. It's always been good.

"I'd tell Harry myself that I don't agree with that. You'd have to put a gun to my head for me to not show up and play for Ireland.

"But obviously everyone is different, and he's here now. He's a team-mate. He's here to play for Ireland. He's got my backing, 100 per cent.

"I'm pleased to see him back. He's a good lad, he's a good player and at the minute, we need all the good players we can get."


Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill is happy to draw a line under the whole episode and he is confident there will be no lingering animosity between his assistant manager and a player who could play an important role in qualifying:

“I probably believe that it should make Harry stronger for it all, if there's criticism coming your way, take it in some sort of spirit and attempt to prove someone wrong if the criticism is levelled at you, and if someone is praising you, then try to prove them right.

"In this case, I think Harry wants to do that - I think he wants to do it not just here, but also that Bournemouth were wrong to let him leave or certainly go out this year on loan, so he's got a bit to prove, which is great.

"I think players should always have something to prove, as we should as managers as well."