Sheffield Wednesday: Why Owls are wary of old boy Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady
Aiden McGeady
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Things went so badly for Aiden McGeady during his brief spell at Hillsborough that the talented winger seriously contemplated retirement.

He spent the second half of the 2015-16 campaign on loan with the Owls but he struggled to hold down a first-team place, appearing on just 13 occasions. The final insult for McGeady was being axed from the matchday squad for the Championship Play-Off Final.

Flashback: Aiden McGeady celebrating his goal for Owls against Forest

Flashback: Aiden McGeady celebrating his goal for Owls against Forest

It was, by McGeady’s own admission, one of the lowest points in his footballing career and he conceded he lost his “love of the game”.

“It didn’t happen here because it was probably difficult for Aiden,” Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan told The Star. “He came at a time when everyone in the starting team was flying.

“We were winning most games so it was hard for him to break in.

“There was no doubt about his ability but the people who had the jersey at the time were doing really, really well and kept him out.”

Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady

It is fair to say McGeady’s temporary switch did not go according to plan but he is not the only loan winger who has failed to shine at Wednesday. Callum McManaman also did not produce the goods last year.

Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal said: “The problem with McGeady and [Callum] McManaman was the same - they didn’t play before too much.

“They came here with their competition levels not very high. They need time to play, they need to play often, they need to play 90 minutes. But at the same time we need to win games and the players were not fit, not ready to play 90 minutes.”

But since leaving Wednesday, McGeady has rebuilt his reputation and recaptured the form he once showed at Celtic.

Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady

He enjoyed an impressive season on loan at Preston North End, with manager Simon Grayson bringing the best out of him.

“At Preston, McGeady had the chance to play often, often, often,” said Carvalhal. “I believe, because I spoke with the coach, that in the first one, two, three four games [he] was not so good.

“After more games he plays well. But [for us], when you are playing to a high level, trying to get promoted and so on, it is often not compatible.

“Some [new signings] have difficulties, and when they play often we know that we chose good players. McGeady’s a good example. When we brought McGeady, we knew that we were bringing a good player, even if in that moment people criticised.”

It was no surprise McGeady followed Grayson to Wearside this summer. The 31-year-old cost a measly £250,000. It is early days but that already looks one of the Championship bargains of the season.

McGeady caught the eye in Sunday’s triumph at Norwich City, scoring one goal and creating another in their fine 3-1 success.

And Bannan is wary of the threat his former teammate will pose at S6 tonight.

He said: “Aiden is one of the better players in that team. He makes things happen for them. I watched the Derby game a couple of weeks ago and he was lively. Aiden is a good, good player.”

Wednesday bolstered their wide options, bringing in George Boyd on a free transfer at the beginning of July.

Bannan said: “He is a great signing for us. That keeps people on their toes. But, too many signings can affect the team because it takes players longer to get used to the way we play.”