London: Police have started an investigation into allegations Sunderland winger James McClean has received death threats.
Republic of Ireland international McClean, 23, was criticised for not wearing a poppy -- the symbol commemorating British war dead -- on his shirt during Sunderland's 2-1 Premier League defeat at Everton on November 10, the day before Britain's Remembrance Sunday.
And McLean received a mixed welcome from travelling fans when he came on as a substitute during Sunday's 3-1 victory at Fulham.
It is understood threats have been directed towards McClean on Twitter, a social networking site which the player no longer uses.
A statement released by Northumbria Police read: "Police are carrying out inquiries following a third party report of threats made on social networking sites.
"Officers have spoken to Sunderland AFC and inquiries are ongoing."
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill, speaking after Sunday's match, confirmed McClean had received death threats but said he backed the player to deal with the unsettling abuse, having had to cope with irate fans' reaction when he chose to represent the Republic of Ireland rather than his native Northern Ireland.
O'Neill said: "James will deal with it (the booing). I think it is to do with the issue last week, it's a free choice in this world.
"James has lived with a lot of things -- he's getting death threats too now so that doesn't help."