Football fans in general, however, are split when it comes to the merits of the Irish international with some believing he has the talent to make him a world beater and others, as one commentator so aptly put it, feeling he is nothing more than a ‘second division player.’
When McGeady was linked with Aston Villa during the transfer window the inevitable rumblings of whether the then Celtic player would be good enough to play in the Premier League began almost immediately. Aside from a bias towards the competitiveness of the SPL, there are aspects to the 24-year-olds game which make him an often frustrating player to watch.
There is no doubt that on his day McGeady is fantastic, one only needs to think back to that Champions League performance against AC Milan in 2007 to see that he is blessed with great raw talent. During his later years in Scotland, however, there was a feeling that his natural ability was stifled as the opposition became accustomed to his game and double marked him, assuring that the impact of his blistering pace and trickery was weakened.
Equally, some of his performances for the Republic of Ireland have also been questionable and not only because of the glaring fact that he has failed to find the net in any of his 36 caps. One of the main problems with McGeady is that he lacks a decisive final ball. When allowed space, he can do wonders in the middle of the pitch and his trickery and flair adds something to a very static Irish team. When it actually comes to teeing up one of the strikers, however, his crosses are inconsistent. And his defensive capabilities aren’t the best either. Take the recent game against Russia, for example, where Alan Dzagoev was easily able to lose McGeady in the box and put the visitors 2-0 up.
This has led to claims that he is nothing more than a luxury player but his games for Spartak, and the fact he appears to have settled in so quickly, suggest that he could prove his defenders right and in fact be a diamond in the rough. When the Moscow side met Celtic in Europe, McGeady took the time to praise his opposition, describing them as a great technical side, and when he eventually signed for them, he also admitted that the on the deck style favoured in Russia was more suited to him than the Scottish game he’d been playing for the last six years.
One expects that it is his ambition to play in the Premier League one day and for now, the game against Chelsea is an opportunity for the former Celtic star to prove he mix it with the best and with Ashley Cole starting for Chelsea, it could be an ideal occasion. McGeady still has a lot to improve on to make himself accomplished in his position but if he is allowed to roam against the Blues, he could go some way to proving that he’s more than a one trick pony.