O'Neill explains why Wednesday are yet to see the best of McGeady

SWFC Stadium

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has offered encouragement to Sheffield Wednesday supporters concerned by Aiden McGeady's slow start.

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill says he has been 'encouraged' by Aiden McGeady's loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday.

With his Euro 2016 hopes fading, McGeady opted to get out of Everton in January, having played just 45 minutes of football all season.

Just five days into his Hillsborough career, the former Celtic winger had already exceeded that by 19 minutes, and he's gone on to make three starts and two substitute appearances in total.

Having played in the Champions League for both the Bhoys and Spartak Moscow and appeared at Euro 2012 with Ireland, Wednesday fans had high hopes for McGeady.

Some have been underwhelmed by his start, but O'Neill says the Owls needn't worry.

"He’s one of those players, if he doesn’t mind me saying, that needs to be sharp to be at his very best," the 64-year-old told the Irish Times. "He can take players on and he can deliver good ball and can beat players with ease and those type of things; not everybody is blessed with that.

"That natural talent has to be supplemented with extremely hard work and the ability to keep yourself in absolutely top condition. When you’re not playing regularly there’s a tendency for that to drop off.

"And now he’s gone out there to Sheffield Wednesday, he’ll feel part of a cause rather than playing under-21 games for Everton. He’ll feel at the end of these matches that he’s actually involved in something and that’s good. All of those things will help the mentality. I think in the physical sense this can be a wonderful benefit to him."

McGeady is set for an extended run in the Wednesday team, with Fernando Forestieri banned for the upcoming fixtures against Rotherham United and Brighton & Hove Albion.

The 29-year-old filled in for the Italian the last time he was suspended, lasting an hour in the Owls' 1-1 draw at home to Queens Park Rangers.

McGeady has two-and-a-half-years to run on his Everton contract.

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