Belgium move can help former Barnsley star Cameron McGeehan achieve his goal

AS Cameron McGeehan acknowledges, there are far worse places to live than Bruges.

Cameron McGeehan: Now in Belgium after Portsmouth loan move. Picture: Tim Markland
Cameron McGeehan: Now in Belgium after Portsmouth loan move. Picture: Tim Markland

There are far worse places to play football than Belgium as well with the former Barnsley midfielder embracing his time at Belgian First Division A side KV Oostende – which he hopes will provide him with a route back to the big time in England.

After falling out of favour at Oakwell under Gerhard Struber and joining Portsmouth on loan in January, McGeehan took the plunge and headed across the Channel in August. Things have worked out swimmingly.

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On his move to Oostende, owned by the Pacific Media Group, who are the majority shareholders at Barnsley, he told The Yorkshire Post: “I spoke to Gauthier (Ganaye) about it and it was something I was not really considering seriously at first. I had another year left at Barnsley, so I was not in a mad rush. I had a couple of interested clubs in England and thought I would sit and wait for them.

“But the more I thought about it and then after the disappointment of the play-offs (at Portsmouth) and how it ended at Barnsley when I got booted out by (Gerhard) Struber, it was an exciting opportunity to go and do something different and fresh.

“Belgium is the most scouted league in Europe and a lot of players get moves from there. I I have always had a really good relationship with Gauthier (former Barnsley ceo and Oostende president) and decided to come out here and try something different.

“I didn’t know what was happening in England and had an opportunity to come out here and have just gone for it. Going aborad was something I was always interested in.

“In England, it can be a bit of a merry-go-round. It was a good time at my age to find a new experience. But my goal is to come back to England, for sure and play at a big club.

“I am a highly ambitious player and want to play as high as I can. I felt I was banging my head against a wall a little bit after getting promoted at Barnsley. Part of that is because it is tough for Barnsley in the Championship. They have not got the budget or level that other teams have.

“I wanted to come here and bring my game on a bit and learn new things. Another thing was the position because I had never played in that high goal-scoring position which I was known for at Luton and came for initially.”

Resident in Bruges, 25 miles inland from Ostend, McGeehan said that he took soundings from former Leeds United player Kemar Roofe before heading out.

McGeehan’s brother Freddie, a leading tennis player in his youth who studied at a US university – helped him settle in.

He added: “I have found a really cool apartment in Bruges. It is a beautiful, historic city and the club set-up is very good with very modern facilities. It is fresh, new and exciting.

“The funny thing is that it is probably the same distance from Barnsley and Leeds to where I used to live (in London).

“I spoke to Kemar Roofe and reached out to him on Instagram as he played at Anderlecht. I played against him when he was at Oxford and I was at Luton.

“He said it was a really good opportunity. We had a really good chat and it helped a lot and I did as much research as I could.

“It is a new team and manager. Similar to Barnsley, they buy young players and try and sell them on. I came in straight off my holidays and was a bit unfit, but have built my way into the team and we are getting better and the standard is very good. There are some Champions League teams out here.

“Games are allowed to have a thirty-five per cent capacity at the minute and it has been pretty good. I just don’t know why it is taking so long in England.”

McGeehan insists he has moved on after the disappointment of what happened at the end of his time at Barnsley under Struber, who quickly decided that he was not in his plans late last year.

He continued: “It was very disappointing. I played my part in the promotion season and was one of the captains coming into the Championship season. I got on really well with (Daniel) Stendel, but then he got sacked and that is football.

“Struber came in and was not having me one bit. It is just how it goes and these things happen. I know what it is like by now.”

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Thank you

James Mitchinson