Stephen Kenny and James McClean on the one road from Derry to here
Stephen Kenny gave James McClean his League of Ireland debut, and the two were on hand once again to bid farewell to the Derry native's exceptional international career.
Teenager McClean made Derry City debut during Kenny’s tenure at the Brandywell back in 2008 and three years later he moved across the water to sign for Sunderland.
An Ireland debut would follow soon after as McClean broke into Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad for Euro 2012, and now with 102 caps under his belt, the time has come to step away from his Ireland career.
McClean joined the manager for his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday night’s friendly international against New Zealand, and it proved an emotional trip down memory lane as the manager spoke fondly about the retiring Wrexham man.
"I had the pleasure of giving James his debut when he was a young player at Derry City," said Kenny. "He had tremendous determination, and he went on to play for Sunderland and a variety of clubs where he showed fortitude, real mental strength.
"Great skills as a left winger, very direct, a high number of goals and assists for a winger and always worked tirelessly for the team, and then he adapted and became a left back or wing back, you have to be able to adapt, it was terrific really.
"It shows his quality. He deserves credit for the career he has had – 103 caps is something special."
"I remember seeing you in the Showgrounds, in the Under-18 team," Kenny said to McClean. "You came into that team at Derry where we had a rule when we went to the First Division that everyone had to be from within six miles of the city, pretty strong, that team, wasn't it?
"It was one of the most special times in my career," replied McClean. "As we were all young, we were all mates, it