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James McClean (file pic). Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
Raising Awareness

'It’s been a bit of a journey' - James McClean diagnosed with autism

The Ireland international hopes to inspire others by sharing the news.

IRELAND INTERNATIONAL James McClean has revealed he has been diagnosed with autism.

The 33-year-old winger, who featured off the bench for Ireland against France in last night’s Euro 2024 qualifier at the Aviva Stadium, explained on Instagram that he was going public with the news to inspire his daughter Willow-Ivy and show that the diagnosis is not a barrier towards high achievement in life.

The Wigan star’s news also coincided with Autism Awareness Week. 

“As you all know, my daughter Willow-Ivy is autistic,” McClean wrote. “The last 4 years have been life changing in the most amazing way but also very difficult at times as her daddy watching her overcome so many obstacles in her life and learning how to manage the challenges she faces on a daily basis.

“The more Erin [McClean's wife] and I learned about autism the more we began to recognise I was very similar to Willow in more ways than we thought.

“I see so many small traits in her that I see in myself. So I decided to go and get an ASD assessment.

“It’s been a bit of a journey and now having a diagnosis I feel it’s time to share it, for the week that’s in it.

“I have debated for a while going public in sharing this as I’ve done this for Willow-Ivy, to let her know that I understand and that being autistic won’t and should never hold her back from reaching her goals and dreams. Daddy’s girl.”

Written by Paul Fennessy and posted on

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