McClean: No second season worries
Sunderland winger James McClean has dismissed claims he could suffer from "second season syndrome" having made a name for himself in his debut campaign.
McClean, 23, came into the Sunderland first-team with the arrival of Martin O'Neill as manager and a string of impressive performances saw the young Irishman called-up to the Ireland squad for Euro 2012.
Despite past examples of players trailing off in their second-season, McClean does not believe he will be similarly affected.
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, McClean said: "I don't believe in second-season syndrome. You just have to go out and work hard to improve your game if you want to progress and that's what I'm looking to do each time we play.
"I'm looking forward to the new season because I believe I'll only get better the more experienced I get."
The winger also said he has no intention of altering the direct style of play which excited so many Black Cats fans and saw him pick up the club's Young Player of the Year award last season.
"Teams might know a bit more about me next season but if I've improved, then hopefully I'll be harder to deal with. That's my game," he continued.
"It has always been my game to get the ball and attack defenders and I don't plan on changing that anytime soon. I took it as a compliment when teams doubled up on me.This is the best league in the world, so teams are capable of doing that to you, but it's still great to know that teams rate you highly enough to do that to you.
"It's a new challenge to my game - having to try to overcome things like that. It puts an extra bit of pressure on me, but it's pressure I enjoy. Personally, I couldn't be more excited about the new season. Last season it took me a long time to break into the side but this time I hope to be involved from the start."