CAMERON McGEEHAN believes that the star of “young and hungry” Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom is firmly on the rise – but is keeping his fingers crossed that he will stay put at Oakwell.
The 40-year-old has been the subject of intense speculation linking him to the Sunderland post before Chris Coleman’s appointment and while many observers feel it is a case of when not if he leaves the Reds for a high-profile challenge, McGeehan hopes it is not for a good while yet.
Paying tribute to the impact of Heckingbottom, McGeehan said: “He matches the players and is young and hungry and is going to want to push on. Hopefully, we can do it all together at Barnsley.
“He has been massive and helped me loads in terms of getting back to full fitness and gradually doing it. There were times when I wanted to push on and he was holding me back in a good way. He blooded me in nicely and waited for the right time. I am improving all the time and learning lots under him.”
Unequivocal in his belief that all the rumours about Heckingbottom’s possible exit have not distracted the Reds players ahead of today’s trip to Carrow Road, he insisted: “Obviously, we have seen stuff what has been reported. It is a credit to the manager that he has been linked with these jobs.
“But I do not think it is the first time it has happened. It is not a surprise, he is pretty used to it and knows how to deal with it.”
He blooded me in nicely and waited for the right time. I am improving all the time and learning lots under himBarnsley’s Cameron MCGeehan on Reds’ boss Paul Heckingbottom
Both McGeehan and Heckingbottom return to one of their old clubs today and the former says he will not be intent on proving a point after controversially being starved of first-team opportunities in Norfolk.
Captain of the Canaries’ FA Youth Cup winning side of 2013, McGeehan was widely tipped to make a big impact at the club, but had to rebuild his career at Luton Town in 2015 after not making a single first-team appearance.
He said: “Obviously, it was massively frustrating. If I was probably at a club like Barnsley at the time, I’d have got a chance.
“You have got a good production line here, whereas Norwich were hesitant in giving the young boys a chance. Although they were in the Premier League at the time and it was a bit different. But I am not about proving a point. To be fair, no one who made the decisions at the time are there now. They have stripped it all out.”