McGeady hints at Moscow exit as he dreams of Euros
Published 28/02/2012 | 05:00
AIDEN McGeady admits to having dreams about Euro 2012, but the Spartak Moscow winger feared his worst nightmare when he fell to the ground during a training session in Spain last month.
He felt a pain in his ankle that was similar to the agony that accompanied a setback last year which resulted in a three-month spell on the sidelines.
"Straight away, I was thinking about the Euros," he says.
Thankfully, it was a false alarm. McGeady had merely suffered a minor strain that would clear up within 10 days, but the incident served as a sharp reminder of what is at stake this year.
"I've never been in this position before, where we've qualified for a major tournament," he says.
"I think about it all the time. I think about what the games would be like, and what way you want to play."
McGeady has had more time than most to ponder the road ahead. His winter has consisted of a one-month break back in Scotland, and then training camps in Abu Dhabi and Spain.
This week, while he's on Irish duty in Dublin, his Spartak colleagues are in Cyprus. It's not quite pre-season, as the Russian league is actually switching from a summer to winter campaign, so the final stretch of the 2011/12 season will start on March 5.
They will kick off the new season in August, in tandem with the major leagues across Europe, although the fact that it is too cold to play in Russia during December and January means that a protracted campaign will become the norm.
McGeady has settled well in Moscow and is now bringing up his first child (a girl, Kai) in the city. He has learned the language and is enjoying the football, yet he is unsure how much longer he will stay there. Indeed, he hints that events in Poland this summer could impact upon his next step.
"I'll see what happens in the next year," he says.
"It depends how it goes on the pitch, and whether we qualify for the Champions League or not. How the Euros go, you never know. I've not thought about where I want to play next. Whatever happens, happens.
"By the time the Euros come around, I'll have played 20 games since last year because the season is so all over the place. The football is stop-start and you've so much time off. It's almost three months since I've last played."
So, his enthusiasm for the Czech game is understandable. The arrival of James McClean has increased competition in the wing department, although McGeady is almost certain to start against Croatia on June 10 given his growing importance in Trapattoni's side.
"I still believe I've a lot more to give," he adds.
This could be his year.