Aiden McGeady has warned newcomer James McClean he has a battle on his hands if he is force his way into the Republic of Ireland team.
The Sunderland winger was a revelation at his club last season after emerging on to the first-team scene in December and prospering ever since to the extent that he was handed a first senior cap in February.
However, McGeady and Fulham midfielder Damien Duff have been Giovanni Trapattoni’s first-choice wide-men throughout his four years at the helm to date, and the Glasgow-born Spartak Moscow man is adamant neither is going to stand aside and let the new boy cash in on all their hard work.
McGeady said: “Myself and Duffer didn’t play in most of the games to go: ’Ah, no problem. Listen, you just take my place on the wing for the Euros’.
“That’s football for you. You are always going to have competition and players are going to be coming up and playing well at club level and getting thrust into the limelight.
“But I suppose it’s my job to maintain a performance where I can be playing every game, and it’s his job to try to catch the manager’s eye and fight myself or fight Duffer for a place. That’s the way football is.”
McGeady has watched McClean’s rise to prominence from afar and while he has not seen as much of him as some of his team-mates, he has been impressed.
However, having been thrust on to the international stage himself at an early age, the 26-year-old knows how tough it can be and has urged patience with the 23-year-old former Derry City player.
He said: “It’s another player who has been playing well in the Premier League coming into the squad and obviously wanting to fight for a starting place.
“Competition is always going to be healthy in any team at club or international level.
“He’s been doing really well and obviously, there as been a lot of hype, but to be fair, it was the same with Seamus Coleman last year as well.
“I wouldn’t put too much pressure on him, that’s all I would say, because he is still young.”
McGeady joined up with the squad on Sunday having helped Spartak claim Champions League football for next season by finishing second behind Zenit St Petersburg.
His form, barring a spell out of the side in March, earned him a place in the top 33 players in Russia, something he admits came as a surprise.
He said: I probably didn’t think I would have been, but when I got back into the team for the last seven or eight games of the season, I was playing some good stuff and the team was playing well, so that’s probably how I was voted into that.
“It’s kind of a strange voting system, but it’s official. It’s a great honour to be voted for by – it’s not actually your fellow peers, it’s the Russian Federation, the official Russian football people, so it’s a good achievement.”