Giovanni Trapattoni has drafted Larsson's former Sunderland colleague into his starting XI in place of the injured Aiden McGeady for Friday night's World Cup qualifier in Dublin.
The Swedish midfielder saw enough of Wigan winger McClean at the Stadium of Light to know he will be a threat if he is allowed time and space on the left flank.
Larsson said: "Obviously, I know a fair bit of him having played with him for quite a while. For me, it's not a massive surprise that he's starting.
"He's a very talented player who can offer something different to a lot of other players.
"I thought he had a good game when we played in Stockholm and he's obviously one we need to keep our eye on.
"He's got a no-fear attitude - at least that's the James that I knew when he broke through at Sunderland.
"He tries things, he goes for it, he's got a good left foot and he's not afraid to make a mistake. Not all players have got that."
Larsson will come up against a current club-mate in Dublin with John O'Shea partnering the fit-again Richard Dunne in central defence.
Larsson and O'Shea were in the Black Cats side which lost 3-1 in the Barclays Premier League at Crystal Palace on Saturday, after which the latter was singled out for criticism by manager Paolo Di Canio by conceding a penalty and being sent off.
However, Larsson is convinced the former Manchester United player will not be affected by his very public dressing-down.
He said: "He will cope with that fine. He has been about long enough and he is a strong enough character not to be affected by that at all."
Sweden, Ireland and Austria all currently stand on 11 points in Group C, five points adrift of leaders Germany, and locked in a battle for second place.
The Republic head for Vienna on Tuesday, while the Swedes face a tricky trip to Kazakhstan, although Larsson insists the order in which the remaining fixtures come makes little difference.
He said: "Listen, it's like a four-game league now, a mini-league. so I suppose it doesn't really matter in what order you play the teams.
"Ireland, Austria and ourselves have all got to play each other and we have all got to play Germany as well, I think.
"It's a mini-league, so it doesn't really matter whether we play Ireland first or Kazakhstan first or whoever, we have all got to try to get the points required to progress.
"We set our target when the campaign started to qualify for the World Cup and we have still got everything in our own hands.
"I know Ireland and Austria can say the same thing, but for us, the mission isn't finished yet and we have still got to complete what we started."
Trapattoni and his players have spent much of the past few days talking about the threat of Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a man who has repeatedly shown he is capable of winning a game out of nothing.
He endured a difficult evening during the corresponding game in Stockholm, a 0-0 draw in March, but asked if it was a concern that the Swedes seemed to be so reliant on their Paris St Germain frontman, Larsson was unequivocal in his answer.
He said: "No, not at all. I don't see it as a concern to have a world-class striker like him in our team.
"He has helped us out a lot before when we maybe haven't reached a level that we should do.
"But at the same time, we are 11 men on the pitch and we can't just rely on him. We will all have to chip in and try to do well."