JAMES MCCLEAN has showed no sign of slowing down in a Wrexham shirt and Phil Parkinson believes he can be a key player once again next season.

The 35-year-old has had his contract automatically extended and will remain at The Racecourse for the 2024-25 campaign.

That will be in League One after McClean helped the Reds clinch a second promotion in a row for the first time in the club's history.

Brought in from Wigan Athletic for an undisclosed fee just days before the 2023-24 season kicked off, McClean made 37 appearances in League Two as Wrexham secured runners-up spot behind champions Stockport County.

McClean, who has also played for Sunderland, West Brom and Stoke City, was left to focus on playing for his club after retiring from international football in November having won 103 caps for Republic of Ireland.

Parkinson feels utility player McClean will have a lot to offer when Wrexham return to the third tier for the first time since the 2004-05 season when Denis Smith was in charge.

"I am pleased that James' extension was activated," said Parkinson.

"He is a key player for us and he proved to be an excellent signing with everything he offers in terms of his all-round game.

"His drive and determination is outstanding and that's why he has played at a high standard for so long in his career.

"He played in the Championship last season for Wigan.

"He has been promoted out of League One with Wigan so he knows this division well.
"Obviously he has retired from international football. He got his 100 caps and now he can have a real focus on having a good pre-season with us and I am looking forward to working with him again next season."

McClean was absent for the opening day 5-3 defeat to MK Dons just days after signing for Wrexham but that was only one of nine league games he missed this season.

Parkinsion was unable to call on McClean when he was away on international duty while he was without the Irishman's services because of a two-match suspension incurred after receiving a 10th yellow card during the run-in.

Just Elliot Lee, the only Wrexham player who featured in every league game, made more league starts than McClean and Parkinson praised the Reds' number 11 for the way he keeps himself in peak condition.

"He prides himself on his fitness and the way he prepares himself for games is elite," said the Reds' boss.

"I am delighted to have him with us for next year."

Although he played the majority of games in the left wing-back role, McClean had a stint playing in attack and he was also used as a midfielder towards the end of the season.

McClean scored four goals in all competitions and Parkinson says being versatile is a huge boost.

"James is an experienced player and he can play in a number of positions," added Parkinson.

"He played wing-back for most of the season. I played him up top against Swindon and he was different class for us.

"Then we played him in midfield and I felt he did really well in there.

"His running power really added something to the team and it is certainly another option."