McGeady says fans expect too much from present players
People may have been spoilt as we got so close to World Cup and qualified for Euros
Aiden McGeady says too much is expected of the Republic of Ireland players. Photograph: Getty Images
Aiden McGeady believes Giovanni Trapattoni’s successor will suffer from inflated expectations in precisely the same way the Italian did unless supporters learn to accept that the team he led lacks the sort of stars who gave Sweden and Austria their edge over Ireland in the group’s defining games.
With Germany always odds on to progress as Group C winners the battle was on for second place and Trapattoni’s side fell well short, the Spartak Moscow midfielder believes, for the most simple of reasons: the quality is not quite there.
“We have the players to do well but possibly the expectation from outside is a little bit too much at times.
“Every campaign we’re expected to qualify and I just don’t think that’s realistic at the minute. Look at the teams we’ve played recently – Germany , Sweden , Austria – they were better than us.
“The last four or five years I think people have been spoilt a little bit by the fact that we got so close to the World Cup and qualified for the Euros.
“Okay, we didn’t play very well at the Euros but we were in a very tough group. And we still qualified. We probably outdid ourselves. And now it’s the same thing again: we should be qualifying for the World Cup. I don’t think it is realistic.
“No one in the team is playing at a top club in one of the top leagues. We’re further down the chain in the Premiership and Championship and further afield for myself and a couple of other players. We’re not England, we’re not Germany , we’re not Spain.”
In relation to the Swedes and Austrians, he maintains it was the presence of outstanding individuals who tipped the scales in the oppositions’ favour with closely fought contests between largely well-matched sides decided by the sort of moments that only top-tier stars can manage.
“Yeah, I said Sweden and Austria were better teams than us but they probably weren’t far better. They were more consistent over the campaign than we were but I have a friend at Spartak (Kallstrom) who plays for Sweden and he actually said Sweden against Ireland was a sort of barren game but ‘we had Ibrahimovich which changed it for us and you don’t have that’ which is right.
“He said it takes a player like him to change a game and he did that in Dublin. And Austria had Alaba, another top player who is only young.”
Kazakhstan are different and McGeady, who is in contention for a return to the team tomorrow night after a knee problem in recent weeks, acknowledges that it is reasonable that Ireland will be the superior side this time out.
“Losing to Germany, there’s no real shame in that. I don’t think we can be too disappointed. We had a gameplan to play defensively – that’s the way the manager wanted to play but it goes without saying that Kazakhstan won’t be the same as against Germany.
“It will probably be the complete opposite where we are going to be like Germany playing against Ireland and we’ll have the ball and they’ll be defending like we did against Germany.
“So it is a totally different challenge and it’s up to us to break them down like Germany did against us.”
And if it doesn’t quite work out like that, he acknowledges with a derisive laugh, the TV pundits will be on everybody’s back again.
“But I don’t think anyone is really bothered.
“I think it probably went out of the window a long time ago being bothered about what is said on TV.”