JAMES MCCLEAN said he wanted to bow out on his own terms after playing his last game for the Republic of Ireland.

The 34-year-old, who joined Wrexham from Wigan Athletic in August, won his 103rd and last Ireland cap in Tuesday night’s 1-1 friendly draw with New Zealand and bade an emotional farewell to team-mates and fans alike after 11 and a half years in the green shirt during which he played at the finals of two major tournaments.

McClean announced his decision to step back from international football last month and had no regrets about doing so after his final appearance, with the wing-back starting the game and playing 66 minutes before being substituted.

“I think this is the right time to go," he said.

"Not many people get to go out on their terms. I’ve had the absolute time of my life. I’ve achieved so much. Beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve had my time.

“The lads were saying tonight, ‘why didn’t you cry? I would have cried’. But I don’t see the need to cry because like I said, I had the time of my life. I’ve had so many happy memories and it’s been an absolute honour.”

McClean, who has made 11 League Two appearances this season and scored his first Wrexham goal in the 2-1 EFL Trophy win against Port Vale earlier this month, has also played for Sunderland, West Brom and Stoke as well as having two spells with Wigan.

He knows what it takes to qualify for tournaments having represented Ireland at both Euro 2012 and at France 2016, too.

It was at the latter that the Republic secured one of their most significant victories, a 1-0 win over Italy in Lille which set up a last-16 clash with hosts France.

McClean said: “That night in Lille when we beat Italy was… I’ve said this before, I wish you could bottle that because if you could bottle that and sell it, you’d be laughing. Absolutely phenomenal.

“It’s been absolutely amazing. From the second I stepped on the pitch against the Czech Republic in 2012, the fans here in the stadium have been absolutely phenomenal, home and away.

“That was something again that was very special. I pride myself on how your nearest and dearest, your team-mates, view you as a person and tonight that showed how they viewed me.

“I’ve struck up some great relationships with the lads over the years and it’s something that I will miss, the camaraderie around the squad and going into battle with these lads.”

McClean will return to action with Wrexham on Saturday when Morecambe visit The Racecourse. 

He was called into the Ireland squad earlier than expected and missed last Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Accrington when the 11 game unbeaten run came to an end.