Cameron McGeehan has spoken exclusively with barnsleyfc.co.uk after signing a new two-year contract with the Reds.
The midfielder was in impressive form during the 2018/19 promotion winning campaign, cementing his place within Daniel Stendel’s midfield and amassing 44 appearances to his name.
He said: “Off the back of last season, I want to continue the momentum into this one. We had a really good season, it was great for everyone at the club to enjoy that, so I wanted to commit my future and carry on the journey.
“I want us all to carry on the momentum, every player and member of staff, we all want to push on together. We all know that the last time Barnsley went up they did really well in their first season, so that’s there as a reminder. That’s the goal now, to try and better it.”
Cameron joins fellow players Jacob Brown, Cauley Woodrow and Mike Bähre in committing their futures to the Reds this summer after securing promotion. The central-midfielder has stated that it shows the belief the current squad has that they can continue progressing together.
“We’ve got a good young group of players, I’ve joined a couple of others in being in the first group to sign new contracts so that shows the belief we have in the club and the loyalty we have to the fans here.
“It’s so important to do it early, 100%. That shows that we have a great young group of players and we have a great chance of growing together, we all want to stick with each other and be here. We’ve got a good young manager as well, he’s brought our games on a lot and we need to keep learning whilst getting loads of games together in the Championship. There were some other options out there, but I was always focused on Barnsley, I think that’s the right attitude.”
Prior to McGeehan arriving at Oakwell from Luton Town, he suffered a serious injury which kept him out for some time. Now fully recovered from that broken leg, last season was important for the 24-year-old after a stop-start 18 months or so and he stated how he had to remain mentally tough during that time.
“It was good to get my game rhythm back and get somewhere near the player I know I can be. I feel there’s still loads more to come and I am looking forward to testing myself against big clubs, renowned players and in big stadiums. I know I have got so much more to offer, I wanted last season to keep going as by the end of the season I had really found my feet and got going again. Now we’re going to be at a higher level so we hope to get going quickly and find our feet early.
“After the injury and going on loan, not doing so well, it gave me a bit of a new edge to try and find myself again. I’ve grown so much over that time, I’ve got confidence in myself and belief, but that does get tested from time to time. Last season was massive in terms of getting back to myself and I know that’s just small steps in what is to come from me. Sometimes football is about being mentally tough and I have some really good people around me to help with that, both inside and outside the club.”
West-London born and bred, as well as learning his trade in Norwich during some important academy years, it’s safe to say that McGeehan was used to the south. However, he’s loving life in the north and has some mates there helping him with fellow Red, Cauley Woodrow living in the flat next to him.
“I love it up here.” He stated. “We all live close to each other, myself, Cauley and quite a few others. We’re often out and about together being social, going for dinner together and stuff like that. That was massive for us all last season, the camaraderie off the pitch. Maybe the year before that was missing a bit, not because of anyone’s fault but because everyone was new. Now we’re all fully together and looking after each other.”
As well as the football, McGeehan is keen to ensure that the close-knit bunch remain together with any new additions to the squad, stating that he wants to help be a senior head this season and relishing any opportunity to be a leader.
“I know how tough it is to come to a new club at a young age, especially coming into the Championship. There’s a lot of good lads in the group now who can get around any new guys such as Luke [Thomas]. It should be pretty seamless for anyone who joins, but if it is not then I know in myself that I can be seen as one of the senior guys now, so I have a responsibility to help anyone, whether that’s current players or new players and I will jump at the chance to do that.
“I’ve now played almost 200 games and I have been captain at times as well, so despite me still being 24, I have always tried to hold a leadership role wherever I’ve been. I captained my youth teams and lifted the FA Youth Cup as captain at Norwich, which was a proud moment. A lot of the lads know we have to do this and we have been doing previously as well. There’s a few lads who have been leaders at other clubs and are leaders at Barnsley, we all know we need to step up and be counted more than ever, now we’re in the Championship.”
It’s fixture release day on Thursday. McGeehan has his eye on a couple of key fixtures, which would be on the lips of most Barnsley fans, but also has a keen interest in games closer to home so that his friends and family can have a short trip to see him.
“Leeds,” McGeehan replied when asked about who he wants to face in the first game. “I’m looking forward to that, every time I’ve met a Barnsley fan out and about they’ve told us how much that game means along with Sheffield Wednesday, so we’ll be looking for them. I’m also looking for the London games as that is where I am from so it’s a good one for the family! Fulham is where it all began in my very early days, so that will be a good one as well back at the home town club.”
Finally, the key question as the players get set to return to Oakwell from the summer holidays… Just what did Cameron get up to over the break?
“I went to Mykonos with Alex [Mowatt], we had a good laugh together there. I think everyone saw that we went to Vegas as well as a group, that was class to do that together, a real laugh and good for team spirit. Other than that, I’ve been working hard on staying fit and spending time with my family, so that was important for me.”