Republic of Ireland footballer James McClean has revealed he has been diagnosed with autism at the age of 33 – having undergone tests after noticing similar traits in his daughter, who has the condition too.
McClean – now playing for Wigan Athletic – said he had gone on ‘a bit of a journey’ before receiving a formal diagnosis.
The Derry-born winger, who has 98 caps for Ireland, has been helping his daughter Willow-Ivy understand her disorder and learning about it alongside her before deciding to get an assessment himself.
Having been officially diagnosed with autism, McClean has now taken to Instagram to share the news during autism awareness week, taking the opportunity to discuss how he has helped Willow-Ivy navigate the condition – saying he decided to go public to help her.
“As you all know, my daughter Willow-Ivy is autistic,’ he wrote alongside a picture of himself posing with her.
“The last four years have been life-changing in the most amazing way but also very difficult at times as her daddy [has been] watching her overcome so many obstacles in her life and learning how to manage the challenges she faces on a daily basis.
“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 wont and should never hold her back from reaching her goals and dreams. Daddy’s girl.”
McClean first made a name for himself in the Premier League in 2011 as he joined Sunderalnd – playing 70 times for the Black Cats before joining Wigan in 2013, where he enjoyed 86 outings.
He then joined West Bromwich Albion in 2015 in the most successful spell of his career as he featured 112 times across three seasons in the top flight, before linking up with Stoke City in the Championship.Tags: