"We respect his decision and his right to follow his own convictions.”

Stoke City have backed James McClean's decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy this month.

The Derry man is continuing the stance which he has held at Sunderland, Wigan and West Brom.

In a statement, Stoke says they recognise the poppy means different things to different individuals and they do not believe anybody should be forced to wear one against their free will.  

James McClean said: “I know many people won’t agree with my decision or even attempt to gain an understanding of why I don’t wear a poppy.

“I accept that but I would ask people to be respectful of the choice I have made, just as I’m respectful of people who do choose to wear a poppy.”

A club spokesperson added: "As a Club we will be supporting the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal by wearing the Poppy on our home shirt in the fixture against Middlesbrough on November 3rd and on our away shirt in the fixture against Nottingham Forest on November 10th.

"The Club is proud of its close connections with the Armed Forces and have also invited members of the Armed Forces to join our remembrance at the Middlesbrough fixture.

"However, we recognise that the Poppy means different things to different individuals and communities and (like the Royal British Legion) do not believe that anybody should be forced or even pressured to wear the Poppy against their free will.

"James has informed us that he will not be wearing a Remembrance Day Poppy in our next two games. We respect his decision and his right to follow his own convictions.”