Ex-Sunderland striker delivers big verdict on key man and his Republic of Ireland hopes

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Aiden McGeady has been labelled the best player in League One by ex-Sunderland striker Stephen Elliott.

McGeady scored his 11th goal of the campaign in the 2-0 win at Bristol Rovers, the 32-year-old winger scoring a brilliant free-kick to help seal victory for Jack Ross' side.

Aiden McGeady celebrates his Sunderland goal.

Aiden McGeady celebrates his Sunderland goal.

And Elliott admits he wouldn't be surprised to see McGeady earn an international recall.

As previously reported, the Echo understands ex-Sunderland, now Republic boss, Mick McCarthy is keeping tabs on his form.

McGeady, 32, has 92 caps. His last international appearance coming two years ago in 2017.

Elliott posted on Twitter: "Aiden McGeady is the best footballer playing in League 1.

"A huge talent who really seems to be enjoying playing for Sunderland this season.

"I’ve a feeling the club is starting to get under his skin. Would be surprised if he is not back in Mick’s first Ireland squad."

McGeady's set piece also drew praise from Sunderland AFC legend Gary Bennett, who said: "That's a perfect free-kick. You're seeing a player with confidence there, he knew he was going to score and the 'keeper had no chance."

Sunderland moved to within two points of Barnsley, in second, with a game in hand on their promotion rivals.

And Bennett, BBC Radio Newcastle's Sunderland co-commentator, says momentum is building nicely on Wearside.

He added: "You've got to say a professional job done by Sunderland. There's a lot of positives they can take out of that game - a clean sheet, more than one goal scored and there's some momentum building.

"The partnership of Grant Leadbitter and Lee Cattermole is building nicely and Will Grigg did well up front.

"The introduction of Lewis Morgan did well and he's created three or four chances, the last of which Charlie Wyke should score. He's a player not playing with confidence and he's desperate for a goal."