Unloved, unappreciated and unwanted.
That’s how Aiden McGeady has felt for much of this season.
Speaking candidly to the press corps yesterday in first interview since joining Sheffield Wednesday on loan from Premier League under-achievers Everton, the skilful winger confessed he “forgot what it was like to be a footballer”.
McGeady’s late cameo in the Owls’ home draw with Burnley was only his second club appearance all campaign.
Discarded. Frozen out. Surplus to requirements. Call it what you want.
The facts are that McGeady has not featured for the Toffees since their Capital One Cup win over Barnsley last August. And even then he was taken off at half-time.
“I’ve had a very difficult six months,” he conceded. “I’ve been totally out of the picture at Everton.
“I’ve not played at all really.
“It has been demoralising. You just think ‘what more can I do to get back in his (Everton boss Roberto Martinez) plans’. Obviously I wasn’t doing enough or I might have been given another chance.”
McGeady, who has previously represented Scottish giants Celtic and Russian club Spartak Moscow, is acutely aware he under-performed at Oakwell.
“I had a bad 45 minutes against Barnsley in the cup and have not been seen since,” he acknowledged.
His lack of match action over the last couple of months prompted him to seek an explanation from Martinez.
“Whenever I spoke to him [Martinez], he just said the Barnsley game and that was it,” he said. “Those were his reasons so what can you do?
“You can’t really change the manager’s mind by arguing with him. His mind was made up and I just had to accept his point of view.”
Being overlooked hurt McGeady’s pride. He tried his best to get back into Martinez’s plans but to no avail.
He said: “It’s difficult when you are not playing. You just switch off.
“As bad as it sounds, you are still employed by a club but if you are not involved every single week you forget what it’s like to be part of a team.
“At times when the team was playing, I would just come into training and do some running on my own. I would just have weekends off.
“I forgot what it was like to be a footballer as I was training Monday to Friday and then having weekends off.
“You’re wasting your time if you’re not playing. It wasn’t enjoyable at all.
“I just want to get back playing football and enjoying it again.”
It is not the first time in his career McGeady has been discarded. After falling down in the pecking order at Spartak, he was forced to train with the youth-team.
After receiving encouragement from Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neil to leave Goodison Park, McGeady said he knew around October/November he needed to move on.
Several Premier League clubs and Championship sides, including Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United, inquired about his services. Spanish side Sevilla also lined up a move for McGeady, who’s dad John played for Sheffield United in the Seventies.
McGeady admitted he learned of the Owls’ interest in his services a “couple of weeks ago”.
He said: “There were a few teams who were in for me. I said at the time when it was between Sheffield Wednesday and a few others that I wanted to come here. I felt Wednesday would suit me and played the best football. I feel they have got the best chance of going up.”
McGeady, who will remain at Hillsborough for the rest of the season, is on a triple mission.
“My main goals are to be playing, help the team push for promotion and go to the European Championships with Ireland,” he said.
Reclaiming his starting place at international level is one of McGeady’s main ambitions.
“Martin kept saying to me that I have got to get out and play,” he said. “The manager couldn’t really justify picking me if I stayed in that situation.
“I had to do something as I didn’t just want to stay at Everton, train every day and not play. I would have gone a year without playing if I was still at Everton.
“We have got the Euros coming up so I have to be playing well to guarantee I make the final squad. I want to be pushing for a starting spot.”