Pulis: McClean ‘not the sharpest tool in the box’

Matt Stead

Tony Pulis admitted James McClean is “not the sharpest tool in the box” after the midfielder was at the forefront of controversy in the win over Sunderland.

The former Black Cat sparked anger after he celebrated in front of the visiting fans following the Baggies’ 1-0 win.

He claimed he was hung out to dry by the club following his refusal to wear a Remembrance Day poppy in 2012.

Saido Berahino cashed in on Costel Pantilimon’s second-half error to condemn Sam Allardyce to defeat in his first game in charge of the Black Cats.

Republic of Ireland international McClean, who left Sunderland in 2013, was jeered by the visiting fans all game and while Pulis did not see the incident – which saw McClean confronted by Danny Graham and Lee Cattermole after the final whistle – he insisted he will study the evidence.

“Let me have a look at it first,” he said.

“I’d heard a roar or whatever and didn’t know whether the players were involved in something.

“If he’s out of order I’ll speak to him.

“He played really well today, James. He’s settled in really well and is a smashing lad and the lads have really taken to him, he’s a really nice lad.

“He’s not the sharpest tool in the box, and that’s not being disrespectful to him. But he’s a smashing lad.”

Victory moved Albion seven points clear of the bottom three and Pulis admitted the win was vital.

“It was a tough game,” he said. “The good thing for us was getting a result after the Everton match when we were 2-0 up and then conceded three goals in the last 20 minutes, which was a real kick in the stomach.

“For confidence as much as anything else it was important to come and win here.”