Sunderland’s Aiden McGeady appeared on the latest edition of the SAFC Unfiltered podcast, along with hosts Frankie Francis and Danny Collins, to discuss all things Sunderland and he spent some time talking about new Black Cats boss Lee Johnson during the show.
McGeady hadn’t featured for Sunderland since November 2019 prior to Johnson’s arrival at The Stadium of Light, with the 34-year-old winger getting frozen out of Sunderland’s first-team setup under previous manager Phil Parkinson, but he’s now featured in three of his side’s five games so far this month and during this podcast, the ex-Republic of Ireland international shed some light on a conversation he had with Johnson the day before his appointment, which saw the new manager ask McGeady about his availability and whether or not he was fit enough to return to first-team action.
McGeady revealed: (8:35) “The manager phoned me on the Friday night and he just said – ‘I think I’m obviously getting the job and are you okay to play?’ – and I said ‘yeah, no problem.’
“I’ve been training for like four months with the [U23s], I said – ‘yeah, no problem, I’ll play. I might not be completely match sharp and my fitness might not be completely there for a game but I’m willing to play.’
“He said – ‘yeah, I would rather start you than bring you on with 20 minutes to go, you’d have to sit on the bench the whole game’ and I was delighted. Obviously, he got the job the next day just as we were arriving at the stadium it was announced that he got the job, he just came in and said ‘this is the team’ – a big statement from him, to be fair, because, obviously, I’d been out in the cold for so long.”
Do you respect Johnson for making this 'big statement'?
TIF Thoughts on what McGeady revealed about this conversation with Johnson…
Given that McGeady had clearly been out of Parkinson’s first-team plans at the North East club, perhaps Johnson may have wanted to make a point to his squad and Sunderland’s fans that things would be different at The Stadium of Light with him as manager by including the £653k-rated man in the starting XI for his first game at the club.
Additionally, perhaps this is an indication that Johnson values McGeady more than Parkinson did and perhaps he thinks that he can help the 34-year-old to turn his fortunes around at Sunderland and play an important part in the club’s promotion bid this term.
Regardless of what Johnson’s intentions were by bringing McGeady straight back into the starting XI upon his arrival at The Stadium of Light, it certainly seems as though the winger respects his new manager for making such a “big statement” and perhaps that is a positive sign for McGeady’s future at the club, as well as the impression that Johnson has immediately made on his first-team squad.