Aiden McGeady: What to expect from the former Celtic and Spartak man.

mcgeady

Today it was announced that Aiden McGeady completed his move to Everton, the winger signed a four-and-a-half-year deal . He completed a medical in the morning and then later in the day he was brought out onto the Goodison Park pitch before the 2-0 victory against Norwich.

McGeady is another Irishmen that will be gracing the Goodison Park pitch, joining Seamus Coleman, Darron Gibson, James McCarthy and Shane Duffy. So what will this Irishmen bring to our squad?

McGeady started his career at Celtic, which saw him spend 6 years there, playing 185 times and finding the score sheet on 31 occasions. He then left the Scottish club to join Russian side Spartak Moscow, the red and whites coughed up £9.5 million to acquire his services.

He played 93 times in all competitions for Spartak, 72 times in the league, 4 times in the cup and 17 times in Europe. During those games he scored 13 times. The 2012/13 saw him assist his team mates 6 times (3 in the RPL and 3 in the Champions League) and this season he also had 3 assists to his name going into the winter break.

McGeady is quite inconsistent and that’s the only worry with this signing, hopefully with the guidance of Martinez and the terrific atmosphere around the club, Aiden can become a lot more consistent. In Russia and also Scotland we often saw him play outstanding one game and then the next game it was like he wasn’t even on the pitch. This season and seasons before McGeady’s form has been patchy, this season his first game against Ural was arguably his best performance this season. He came on after 38 minutes and on the 51st minute he found himself on the end of a low Parshivlyuk cross, McGeady stuck his foot out to tap in from a couple of yards out. McGeady also played a part in Spartak’s second, McGeady picked up the ball inside Ural’s box, then his curling effort came off the post and found Emenike, the Nigerian tucked the ball away to secure all three points.

However after that display, he didn’t play well. Against Dynamo Moscow and Kuban Krasnodar his goal efforts weren’t great, he had 6 attempts on goal 2 went wide, 2 saved and 2 blocked. He also failed to complete a cross, he attempted 5 crosses, all failed to reach a team mate. His take on success wasn’t good either,  against Dynamo he successfully took on 2 players in 5 attempts and against Kuban he tried to take on one player but failed. All keys areas in which a winger should be producing the goods. After those two games McGeady picked up a hip injury which kept him out of the next three games.

McGeady only played 28 minutes in the first two games back, 22 minutes against Volga and only 6 minutes against CSKA Moscow, understandably he didn’t make much of an impact. McGeady did however make an impact against Krasnodar. He only played for 57 minutes but in that time he won 1 header, 1 successful tackle, took on a player twice and failed twice, completed 1 cross out of 2, had a pass completion of 88% and he also played a lovely ball through to set up Movsisyan for Spartak’s second goal. He did have some part to play in the other two goals as well, the first he switched the ball to Jurado before the Spaniard took the ball past a player and smashed the ball into the top corner. The third Spartak goal came after McGeady had his cross palmed away by Filtsov, only for the ball to fall to Jurado who blasted the ball past the bodies and it proved to be the winning goal. The games that followed were up and down, he played poorly one game and then slightly improved the next and then back to a poor game.

McGeady has had a few problems in Russia both with injuries and suspensions. He’s had five injuries since arriving from Celtic. In the last game of his first season McGeady was given a straight red for a poor challenge from behind, this resulted in him missing the first three games of the new season. In the 2012/13 season he picked up two straight red cards, firstly in the 5-0 defeat to Zenit St. Petersburg and then against Mordovia Saransk, he was sent off for an off the ball incident with Vladimir Bozovic, McGeady pushed him to the ground. Certainly a game to forget for McGeady, he scored Spartak’s only goal earlier in game but his sending off was followed by arguments with fans, kicking a microphone and completely destroying the changing room. Due to these actions and this being his second straight red he was given a 4 game ban and a further 2 for insulting the referee. However the Russian FA didn’t go through with this and he only received a 2 game ban. This season it was no secret that McGeady wished to move to England, but the uncertainty of his future lead to Spartak Head Coach Valery Karpin sticking him into the reserves, McGeady failing to listen to the head coach during training and matches is also another reason. James McCarthy when interviewed about McGeady said that’s the first time he’s heard him falling out with a manager.

McGeady’s time in Russia saw him become a fan favourite with the Spartak faithful, despite the setbacks its hard not to enjoy watching him play. McGeady is right footed, however he is equally just as good with his left foot. He can play on the left, right or just behind the striker, all positions he’ll be able to provide tough competition for and perhaps make his own. McGeady’s best attribute is his ability to beat players, in a one-on-one situation he has the skills and pace to easily put his marker and cause opponents a number of problems.

In an interview with Independent.ie McCarthy said this about McGeady: “He’s obviously a great player, day to day in training you can see how much quality he brings to the team. He would be brilliant to have in the Premier League.”

It’s not just his Republic of Ireland and now Everton team mate praising his ability. Back in 2008, Lionel Messi was full of praise ahead of Celtic’s clash with Barcelona. “Aiden McGeady is a fast and skilful winger and someone I rate highly,”

“We will have to be careful with him because his movement can be special and he has a great ability to appear in goalscoring positions out of the blue.”

“I really like the way he plays football. He is a natural talent, who can create a brilliant piece of play in the blink of an eye and I can assure you our defenders will be paying very close attention to him.”

I’m also a fan of McGeady, he’s an exciting player to watch and i’m sure he’ll light up Goodison Park and our faces with some of his tricks. He can be frustrating at times but when he’s on the top of his game it’s quite simply a joy to watch. He should be a great signing for the blues and I think we won’t be having any of the problems he had in Russia. It may take him a while to get himself into gear, his last game was on the 23rd of November after being placed in the reserves and he’s already had a month off due to Russia’s 3 month winter break.

Signing McGeady will be great for all parties, Spartak don’t have a player that was ready to leave, McGeady doesn’t spend the rest of the season rotting in the reserves and Everton strengthen for a second half of the season push for a Champions League spot. McGeady is our first recruitment this window and lets hope for a couple more before the end of January.

Article for footyscene.

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