Joseph Tulip says...
Football is about playing your best players and even at 35, Aiden McGeady represents just that - a proven stand-out performer at this level.
He is a marked man, but when opposing defenders double up on our star man, that surely creates space for us to exploit elsewhere.
This is why we must ensure we have enough quality in midfield and attack, to ensure that Geads is not the only dangerman for League One defences to worry about.
With McGeady ready to go once again, our recruitment department can work on filling the other pieces of the jigsaw.
This season is all about promotion. Proven quality and experience is essential, and I think McGeady has a key role to play in the coming 10 months.
I’d have kept Leadbitter and Maguire for one more season, even as squad men, but moving them on is fine provided we get recruitment right.
A balanced squad is key, and our younger players can learn and develop from McGeady, while pushing him for the shirt.
Gary Engel says...
From the very start of Lee Johnson’s reign, Aiden McGeady found a new lease of life. He and Sunderland for a few weeks arguably played some of the best stuff we’ve seen all the time he has been at the Stadium of Light. It’s been said how McGeady is the best player outside the Championship but at last we truly saw it.
It wasn’t just skill, but McGeady looked fit to the point he’d rolled back the years.
As promising as that is, sides towards the end of last season began to stifle McGeady’s tricks and reduce his influence on proceedings. At the same point, Sunderland fell into that old trap, where players around Gead’s started playing musical statues whenever he received the ball. On his day he is brilliant, but he can’t do it on his own and needs intelligent runners around him.
McGeady’s new contract is a huge positive on so many levels. It is a sign of intent, and he could be instrumental in developing some of Sunderland’s best young attacking prospects.
If McGeady is Sunderland’s only willing attacking threat it is obvious he will become bogged down. But as, at times, we were crying out for an attack-minded left wing-back behind him, and if we can add one or two other attacking threats, few opponents will live with that.
Fans have started to sweat with our lack of activity, but with the likes of Embleton, Diamond, Hawkes and Neil vying for a place it could be a great chance for a little Irish magic to rub off on them - just stay away from McDonalds.
Malc Dugdale says...
I’m in two minds about the Geads re-signing, if I’m honest. For every positive there seems to be a negative that jumps out too.
Yes, he can be way too good for this league on a good day, but he has bad days too. He is at times marked out of the game so well I am left wondering why people claim he has such greatness at this level. If he is that good, how can League One defences prevent him from functioning as they do at times?
Yes, he also gives us left-sided attacking options and goals and rafts of experience and skill, but we have youths who can do a lot of that too, who may now miss out on development due to him staying. As a minimum, they will get less starts and less minutes. Will Embleton still be core to our season with Aiden about? Is it really a good thing to keep senior players if this is the start of a long term recovery plan?
Yes, he led the League One assist charts last season while playing way less games than a lot of his peers pushing for that honour. But when he is on the pitch, the wider team often allow him to be the centre of all things creative, rather than doing their own thing too. When he gets double marked, others need to use the resulting space and attacking options to capitalise. They didn’t show a lot of that at all last season, or the one before, when Geads was on the paddock.
Also, Charlie Wyke did get the best from McGeady’s service last time out, but should he not be getting more from other attacking-minded players… is he too reliant on the Irish winger? Will keeping Geads help us retain Charlie? Do we want to keep him? Will Wyke even be with us for the new campaign?
All that said, I genuinely feel that if we hadn’t had McGeady ostracised by Parkinson for part of last season, by playing in the games he didn’t play he could well have made enough of a difference on frequent enough occasions to have us in the top two at the seasons end, rather than in 3rd or 4th.
In addition, I certainly don’t want to see him sign for another League One team, tearing our right back a new arsehole in the resulting fixtures in cups and league. I shudder to think how well opponents could do with his service to other more effective target men and aerial threat strikers in our present division. Charlie did well, but others could surpass his tally with that quality feeding into them.
Part of the idea here for me is that Geads has a point to prove with what will likely be his last season in a first-team shirt, a bit like Grant did last season. Grant talked openly about his regret that he couldn’t help us climb the leagues before he retired. Let’s hope McGeady doesn’t feel the same way in the spring of 2022.
All in all, it’s a good signing, and better than him being with an opponent, with limitations we need the coach to closely manage to get the best from all aspects of the squad. That sums it up for me. All he can be is a capable squad member and option who adds to but does not dictate our season to come.
Good luck Geads. Hopefully, this is our season to resume the rise.