|James McClean (No 14) lined up with his West Brom team-mates during their pre-season match on Friday|
Republic of Ireland footballer James McClean has sparked anger by turning his back on the British national anthem during his club's pre-season tour in the US. Premier League star McClean was seen to face away from the flag of St George as he stood alongside his West Bromwich Albion team-mates who were lining up to face South Carolina-based United Soccer League club Charleston Battery.
The 26-year-old previously refused to wear a poppy on his kit in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday while playing for Sunderland and Wigan Athletic, saying it would have been disrespectful to the 'innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles'.
|McClean turned away from the cross of St George when 'God Save The Queen' began to play|
|The Republic of Ireland midfielder has been warned about his behaviour by West Brom boss Tony Pulis|
|Republic of Ireland international McClean has received abuse for his actions during West Brom's tour|
His decision to snub the anthem sparked anger on Twitter, with some fans branding him 'scum' for his actions. He also faced calls for him to walk away from English football, with Northern Irish Democratic Ulster Unionist MP Gregory Campbell saying: 'He should reconsider who his paymasters are or move elsewhere so there isn't a problem.'
Mr Campbell told the Belfast Telegraph: 'He needs to keep his head down and play football, but what he shouldn't do while earning money from the UK is set himself up as a controversial pseudo-political figure, which is what he's doing.'
McClean responded to criticism by tweeting 'I don't need to say anything or will I either' but encouraged followers to read an online article entitled 'In Defence of James McClean'.