It’s been a long road back to the Irish setup for Sheffield United striker David McGoldrick.
At the end of the 2017/2018, he was released by Ipswich Town after five and a half years at the club, with new manager Paul Hurst outlining that McGoldrick would not be in his plans.
The news came after a season which saw him score just six league goals for the Tractor Boys, as he found himself a million miles from Irish manager Martin O’Neill’s squad.
“Yeah, I was out of contract at Ipswich,” said McGoldrick, addressing the media following his first training session back with the Boys in Green.
“They didn’t want me, the new manager said I wasn’t for him. There weren’t many clubs that wanted to take me and I went on trial at Sheffield United.
“I think that’s what I needed, a kick up the backside to show me where I am at and that’s probably why I hadn’t been selected for my country, my form hadn’t been good enough but now I’ve got the umph back and I’m enjoying playing my football again.”
Fast forward almost 12 months and McGoldrick’s “kick up the backside” as he put it, has sparked him into arguably the best form of his club career, with the frontman scoring 12 goals and grabbing three assists as the Blades chase automatic promotion.
His tremendous season has also seen him return to the Irish setup for the first time in 18 months as he looks to revive his international career at 31-years of age.
With Ireland struggling for goals in 2018, just four in 12 months, McGoldrick finds himself as one of McCarthy’s best and most in-form options in the attacking department.
Although McGoldrick admitted that the positions up top are certainly up for grabs, he feels as though now, should he impress in training, he has a great chance of adding to his 12 competitive minutes at international level.
“I’m one of the older ones now. When I first came in there was the likes of Kevin Doyle, Shane Long, Daryl Murphy; Robbie Keane was still playing too so as a humble lad I knew I might not get the minutes.
“Now I’m 31, all the strikers are good players and they’re all scoring goals. It’s very open at the minute. Under Mick, it’s how you train, if you train well and impress him during the week then he’s got no problem with throwing you in.
“Like with James, he’s scoring goals at Luton but he hasn’t looked at that and gone ‘oh it’s League One’ he deserves a chance and if you impress in training he’ll give you a chance. It’s down to us as players to do that.”
There had been rumours of a rift between McGoldrick and Martin O’Neill given the nature of which the Sheffield United striker found himself out in the cold at international level.
McGoldrick outlined that he and the ex-Irish manager had a chat after the Moldova game in 2017 but that it was certainly not an argument between the pair.
“Look people just assumed there was something there, it was just down to form. There were other people coming into the squad, Seanie Maguire, Scott Hogan, Ronan Curtis, all young boys, the manager wanted to look at them, I wasn’t doing the business.
“We had a conversation after one of the games, the Moldova one I think it was, I didn’t get on the bench and we spoke about it and that was it. I think people were reaching out for an argument that never happened.
“I’ve got great respect for Martin and Roy and the staff. They gave me my debut against the USA four years ago, I’ll always be grateful to them for doing that.”
The former Ipswich man also opened up on the trial with Sheffield United which saw him revitalise his career in the Championship.
“I don’t think they doubted my ability it was more my fitness which I had been struggling with so they wanted to have a look at me.
“I came in and trained on the Monday and had a trial game on the Tuesday and the contract was offered straight away then. When I played the trial game there was a few teams that wanted to tie me down but I signed a year there [at Sheffield United] done well and I’ve signed a new contract so I’ve got another two years.
“It’s a great club, I’m enjoying my time there, I think it’s a perfect fit so.”