Pic: James McClean both abused and praised for turning away during God Save The Queen 3 years ago

Pic: James McClean both abused and praised for turning away during God Save The Queen

James McClean has taken abuse on social media for refusing to face the Union Jack during the preamble to a West Brom friendly.

The Premier League side were playing Charleston Battery in a pre-season match.

In the United States, the national anthem is played before all football matches.

As God Save The Queen rang out before the friendly, the West Brom players joined their American counterparts in facing the flags. All except McClean, who faced forward with his head bowed.

A live feed of the match only very briefly shows the Baggies players facing forward, as a graphic appears on screen.

McClean has previously come under attack in England for refusing to wear a poppy on Remembrance Day.

Explaining his decision in a letter to then Wigan club chairman Dave Whelan, he said: ''The poppy is used to remember victims of other conflicts since 1945 and this is where the problem starts for me.

“For people from the North of Ireland such as myself, and specifically those in Derry, scene of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, the poppy has come to mean something very different.

“For me to wear a poppy would be as much a gesture of disrespect for the innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles - and Bloody Sunday."