Tuesday 23 January 2018

Lennon signing shows 'up-and-down' McGeady has no future at Everton, warns Thompson

Liverpool legend Phil Thompson has his doubts over Aiden McGeady's capacity to continually deliver at Everton. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Liverpool legend Phil Thompson has his doubts over Aiden McGeady's capacity to continually deliver at Everton. Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Garry Doyle

Liverpool's former captain and assistant manager Phil Thompson has delivered a scathing verdict on Aiden McGeady's Everton future ahead of this Saturday's Merseyside derby.

Unimpressed by the inconsistency which has plagued McGeady's career, Thompson suggested Aaron Lennon's arrival at Goodison Park could result in the eventual departure of the Ireland winger.

Yet even if McGeady survives in the short-term, long-term Thompson has his doubts about the Glaswegian's capacity to continually deliver.

"Aiden McGeady has been okay. But his problem, and he has had this issue throughout his career, has been getting that level of consistency," said Thompson.

"You are looking for a player to perform at an eight or nine out-of-ten level most weeks. But with Aiden, he is very much up and down. Some weeks he is an eight, some weeks a five. And he will always be that kind of player.

"You see him sometimes and you go 'wow' when he does something absolutely incredible, when he beats a defender, produces a step-over, and bends the ball into the top corner.

"But he doesn't do that kind of thing often enough.

"And he is bound to realise that. So the big worry for me, with regards to Aiden, is Aaron Lennon's arrival, particularly as his proposed move to Stoke broke down when they couldn't guarantee him a starting place.

"Within hours, Lennon had signed for Everton, which makes you wonder if Roberto Martinez offered him a place in his first XI. If so, then who is going to make way for him?

"Is it going to be McGeady? Or (Kevin) Mirallas? Someone will have their nose pushed out of place."

Being guaranteed a starting place has never been James McCarthy's problem. Rather, his concern has been with injuries, his frequent hamstring complaints keeping him on the sideline for 10 weeks of this season.

"And that has hurt Everton," says Thompson, who captained Liverpool to their 1981 European Cup triumph, one of 16 major trophies he won with the club.

"There is absolutely no doubt that James McCarthy has been a massive miss this season.

"He and Gareth Barry were absolutely made for each other - McCarthy the younger player, being able to get about people, Barry proving to be better on the ball.

"James, clearly, is good enough to play for any of the top-six clubs. He is that important.

"And he has developed at Everton under Martinez, who knew what he could do from their time together at Wigan. He doesn't confuse his attributes. He knows what he is good at and doesn't try to complicate things by asking him to do anything fancy."

Can the same be said of Brendan Rodgers' relationship with Mario Balotelli?

"I can't sit and pretend Balotelli has been a success or that he has done the best he can," said Thompson. "To me the best game he played for Liverpool was his very first game for the club when he was part of a two-man forward line with Daniel Sturridge. Sturridge never played after that and Balotelli has suffered as a result.

"With Brendan preferring to go with one up front, Balotelli's strengths weren't catered for. But you have to deserve it and play within the team structure that the manager wants."

Watch Liverpool v Everton exclusively live on Sky Sports 1 from 4.45 on Saturday. See sky.ie/sportsandmovies.

Irish Independent

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