Sheffield Wednesday may be preparing for a Championship play-off final against Hull City this week, but Aiden McGeady’s deteriorating club fortunes were painfully apparent by the on-loan winger’s presence in Dublin rather than Yorkshire yesterday.
McGeady was one of the 24 players who got the Republic of Ireland’s preparations for next month’s European Championship in France underway at the National Sports Campus and it must have been a humbling experience checking in to the team hotel in Castleknock on Sunday.
The former Celtic player was offered an escape route from his purgatory at Everton in January, but he has failed to make the most of the opportunity at Hillsborough where he has now fallen out of favour as Wembley, and maybe the Premier League, loom large.
His presence here ahead of Friday’s friendly against the Netherlands is at least suggestive that he can hold out hope of being involved in the Euros though Martin O’Neill, a long-time fan, admitted to being surprised by his failure to prosper under Carlos Carvalhal.
“Yes, yes, I am,” O’Neill said. “He made the effort to go out on loan in January and that was commendable, obviously thinking about the Euros.
“If he wasn’t going to get a game at Everton, he wasn’t going to sit around so Sheffield Wednesday looked ideal for him.
“I could understand the manager not starting him in some games, or playing him and taking him off, because maybe he did not think his match fitness was really there. But, for whatever reason, he wasn’t involved in the second (semi-final) leg at Brighton.
“Then the manager told him he wouldn’t be involved in the final.” McGeady and others for whom game time has been an issue, such as Darron Gibson, Stephen Quinn, David McGoldrick, and Daryl Murphy, will likely have to clock in for extra training sessions this week. It will seem a long way from Wembley.
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