“If we had a game on Wednesday night, for example, like Ireland have, James wouldn’t be fit for that game.”

McClean made no secret of his delight at being called up, posting a picture of an Ireland jersey on Instagram with the caption, "Looking forward to meeting up with the lads on Sunday. Big campaign ahead, always an honour".

Adding to O'Neill's concerns is the looming threat of coronavirus.

McClean missed two games for the Potters having tested positive for COVID-19 during the November international break.