Aiden McGeady reveals crucial Lee Johnson influence after signing fresh Sunderland contract
Aiden McGeady believes he is playing his best football in a number of years at Sunderland – thanks to the impact of Lee Johnson.
The winger penned a new one-year contract at the Stadium of Light earlier this week after being brought in from the cold by Johnson.
McGeady had been training with the club’s under-23 side under former manager Phil Parkinson, but the appointment of the former Bristol City chief saw the 35-year-old restored to the first-team.
And he made an immediate impact, registering the highest number of assists in League One while helping Sunderland climb the table – even if promotion wasn’t achieved in the end.
For McGeady, a lot of credit for that form has to go to the head coach, who he has lavished with praise after signing fresh terms.
Speaking to safc.com, the former Celtic and Everton man said: “I think the manager is a big factor in me coming back into the team, my form towards the end of the season and helping me to stay as well.
“If it was another manager then I don't think I would be here, but he made it quite clear from as soon as he took over that he wanted me to play and be a big player in his team.
“He showed a lot of faith in me and I'd like to think I repaid that faith to an extent, but there's a lot more to be done to be successful.
“But the manager was a big part in me wanting to stay.
“I've played probably my best football for a couple of years, especially when I came back into the team, under him.
“He gives me licence to play and I know now what he wants from his team. It's quite exciting.”
McGeady will now be entering his fifth season at the Stadium of Light after he joined the club from Everton in 2017, and the wideman is keen to help the club fulfil its undoubted potential.
And he hopes this can finally be the season where the Black Cats escape the third tier.
"Fifth season, it’s actually quite a long time,” he admitted.
"Obviously I had a short loan spell away the season before last, but I’ve enjoyed my time here massively.
"At my age, I’ve made it quite clear that I didn’t want to be going elsewhere or moving. I’m quite happy here at the club.
"I like the club and I think it’s a massive club and it has so much potential, but we’ve just not realised it the last couple of seasons.
"We’ve been unlucky. I think since we came down into League One we’ve been unlucky every season and just not quite clicked towards the end.
"If you look back to that bad run we had at the end of last season, realistically we should have gone up.
"But it’s down to us as players, we weren’t quite good enough. But hopefully this season we can put that right – that’s everybody’s intention.”