Soccer Digest: Aiden McGeady ready for Euro challenge
Former Celtic winger Aiden McGeady won the man of the match award as a second half substitute in Ireland’s 1-0 win over Bosnia on Saturday, then claimed he has nothing to prove to manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
McGeady is under threat from the arrival of James McClean onto the international scene, but appeared to book his place for the Euro opener against Croatia with Saturday’s performance.
“You can’t be much more pleased than coming on for 45 minutes and getting the man of the match award,” said McGeady afterwards.
“I was a bit surprised to be honest when I heard my name being put over the tannoy. Obviously it was very pleasing.
“I don’t have anything to prove to the manager. It is possibly some fans or some pundits that doubt me, or whatever.
“But the manager, I don’t think I have anything to prove to because he said to me before the game that you are in great form just now and we want to keep you fresh for the games coming up.”
Trapattoni praised McGeady afterwards. He said, “When we arrived here, McGeady was already a very good player, but every young player needs confidence.
“Now he is playing, playing, playing in another country, different football, and he is getting more confidence. Now McGeady is one of our strongest players.”
Irish captain Robbie Keane also praised McGeady and full debutant James McClean.
Keane said, “Aiden McGeady can light up the championship. I don’t want to put any pressure on him but he’s one player who can certainly make a difference to our team.
“James McClean did ever so well on Saturday, for somebody playing in his first full international.But I thought Aiden did superbly well.
“Every player needs competition, it keeps them on their toes. James came in and did very well, he’s doing well for Sunderland. So the competition for places is good.”
Keane has dismissed all fears about his fitness ahead of the Croatia game on Sunday, June 10.
The LA Galaxy striker arrived in Ireland with a hamstring injury and then damaged ribs in an accidental clash during Saturday’s win.
“The hamstring is fine but the ribs are in bits after that knee. Ah na, it’s fine,” said Keane. “I just found it hard to breathe. It took a few minutes to catch my breath again. It’s a little bit sore but it’s nothing too serious.
“It was all fairly innocuous, they are the sort of challenges you expect. My form hasn’t been too good but I feel fine now, though, and quite sharp.”
Speaking after the win, when his replacement Shane Long scored the only goal, Keane insisted he was happy with the outcome of Ireland’s final home before the Euros.
He added, “All the team played well really, it was important to get a win before we departed. It will give us a lot of confidence
“Bosnia are a very similar team to Croatia. They like to get the ball down and pass it. They did that a lot in the first half but didn’t really bother us too much after that. And then we managed to create a few chances ourselves.”
IRELAND boss Giovanni Trapattoni refused to confirm his final Euro 2012 squad early this week, and warned his walking wounded they must prove their fitness against Hungary in Budapest on Monday.
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