Tuesday 12 December 2017

McGeady keen to put frustrating season behind him

Aiden McGeady has always enjoyed a healthy relationship with Martin O’Neill, who likes to poke fun at the trickster’s crabby tendencies SPORTSFILE
Aiden McGeady has always enjoyed a healthy relationship with Martin O’Neill, who likes to poke fun at the trickster’s crabby tendencies SPORTSFILE
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

When Aiden McGeady is being interviewed, there's always a strong chance that a question will be met by another question.

It's a by-product of his natural personality, an honest edge to his character that always makes for an interesting atmosphere.

In the course of a 25-minute round-table interview yesterday, the 29-year-old was in a fairly forthright mood as he discussed a frustrating season with Everton.

"What else do you want me to say?" he asked, when it was put to him that a campaign that started so promisingly with both club and country tailed off to a position where he barely played any football after Christmas.

Injury was the catalyst for his longest spell out of action, but upon his return it was clear that Roberto Martinez preferred other options.

"I don't think I've had a season like this in football before where I've played so little," he sighed.

In his youth, McGeady would have knocked on the manager's door to have it out. He has learned to take a deep breath these days, born from a realisation it serves no purpose.

"He's got his own ideas and you are not going to change his mind by talking to him," he explained. "When I was younger I probably would have thought that I would say my bit anyway."

McGeady has always enjoyed a healthy relationship with Martin O'Neill, who likes to poke fun at the trickster's crabby tendencies.

The bottom line is that the Derry man rates the player very highly. So highly that even McGeady was taken aback when he was picked for March's draw with Poland.

"I was surprised," admitted McGeady. "The manager maybe thought it was a risk he was willing to take if I could produce something but on the night I didn't. Then James McClean came on and produced a little bit and we had a bit of momentum in the last half an hour.

"The manager picks his team based on who we're playing against and how he thinks training has gone but for me it would be good to play a bit of football in the next week (v Northern Ireland and England) and hopefully be in contention for the Scotland game."

McGeady really wanted to be a part of the Polish game and told 98FM at yesterday's launch of the McDonald's FAI Future Football campaign that he received an injection on a sore back beforehand without telling his employers.

"They weren't all that happy with that and it set me back a few weeks," he said. "In hindsight, I probably should have just left it and not played. But you want to play, don't you?"

The anecdote illustrates his desire to represent Ireland, especially in light of Everton's clashes with Irish management related to the well-being of James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman.

McGeady hasn't always been a darling of the Irish fans, but he cares about doing well. He was unprepared, however, for a request to offer his take on Jack Grealish's dilemma.

"He's probably waiting on England coming in, isn't he?" he responded, before rowing back. "What is he waiting for?

"You're probably going to try and make a headline out of me saying something about Grealish," he added, warily. "But I don't know enough about it. Maybe he's waiting for a while to figure out in his head what he's going to do."

Once McGeady came into the Irish fold there was no turning back, regardless of what was said in his native Scotland. "Maybe he didn't feel as comfortable in the set-up," he shrugged.

The Glaswegian does not exude the air of a man that is kindly disposed to ambiguity.

Irish Independent

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