Footballer James McClean Reveals He Has Been Diagnosed With Autism At 33


James McClean, a Republic of Ireland footballer, has stated that he was diagnosed with autism at the age of 33, after undergoing tests after noting similar features in his daughter, who also has the illness.

Before receiving a formal diagnosis, the Wigan Athletic winger says he went on “a bit of a journey.”

McClean, who has 98 Ireland caps, has been assisting his daughter Willow-Ivy in understanding her disease and learning about it with her before opting to have an evaluation himself.


McClean has moved to Instagram to share the news during autism awareness week, using the chance to describe how he has helped Willow-Ivy navigate the disease – stating he decided to go public to aid 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.

‘The more [wife] Erin 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 wont and should never hold her back from reaching her goals and dreams. Daddy’s girl.’

McClean has been embroiled in previous issues, including being chastised for turning his back during the national anthem before a West Brom friendly in 2015. The athlete has indicated that this is because of his connection to Derry and the involvement of the British Army during the Troubles and Bloody Sunday.


He has also been chastised for refusing to wear a poppy during Remembrance Day games.


McClean first made a name for himself in the Premier League in 2011 when he joined Sunderland, where he played 70 times before moving on to Wigan in 2013.


He then joined West Bromwich Albion in 2015, where he had the most successful spell of his career, appearing 112 times in three seasons in the Premier League before joining Stoke City in the Championship.


In 2021, he returned to League One with Wigan and helped them achieve promotion to the second tier.

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