Martin O'Neill puts faith in Everton's Aiden McGeady

Martin O'Neill puts faith in Everton's Aiden McGeady

MARTIN O'Neill believes that Everton’s Aiden McGeady can become a key player on the international stage, following his impressive performance in Ireland’s disappointing 2-1 friendly defeat by Turkey.

The 28-year-old showcased a fine first-half display during Sunday evening’s match at the Aviva Stadium, before being substituted in the latter half after his influence waned.

McGeady, who moved to the Merseyside club from Spartak Moscow in January, may have not seen as much first team action as he would have hoped, but O’Neill is confident that the winger can be a major asset for the international team.

"Aiden has not played much football in the last six months. I don't want to be an apologist for him - I think I have said this here before - I am a big fan of his in terms of ability,” the Ireland manager said.

"He created some beautiful moments for us, but can go for a 10 or 15-minute spell not in the game.

"Sometimes that's not his fault; sometimes it is, and those are the type of things that I think if he can iron out, he will be an asset to us in all aspects of the game."

McGeady was at the centre of what could have been a crucial moment of the game when he played Shane Long in behind defender Omer Toprak, who challenged the striker inside the box.

French referee Ruddy Buquet did not award a red card and Turkey then went on to establish a 2-0 lead with goals from Ahmet Ilhan Ozek and substitute Osman Tarik Camdal either side of half-time.

Ireland eventually managed to find the back of the net with a goal from Jonathan Walters with 12 minutes remaining, but the home team were unable to level the score.

The defeat to Turkey follows Ireland’s loss against Serbia at the Aviva Stadium in March and O'Neill admitted that the team needs to turn things around quickly if they are to succeed in qualifying for the finals of Euro 2016.

"That's two games now. I don't want to come in with the same message, please,” he said.

"We created some really great chances in the match and I know it's a friendly game, but we have been beaten and we would have gained more confidence from winning the match.

"I actually thought that we created a lot of chances in the game and I genuinely don't know how we lost the match.

"A combination of things - probably poor finishing, some great saves by the goalkeeper too - but we should have had the game out of sight by half-time."