Former Arsenal youth Jordan McEneff won't 'snub his nose' at League of Ireland return - says big brother Aaron
HEARTS midfielder Aaron McEneff doesn't believe his talented younger brother Jordan would 'snub his nose up' at a return to League of Ireland football considering how his own career has benefitted from successful spells with Derry City and Shamrock Rovers.
The 21 year-old former Arsenal youth ended a six-year association with the Gunners last month when his contract expired and he's expected to announce his next move in the coming weeks.
A six month loan spell under Damien Duff at Shelbourne was Jordan's first taste of senior football and while his brother admits the short term move didn't quite go as planned, he reckons the experience will stand him in good stead as he weighs up his options.
Aaron, who returned from Tottenham Hotspur as a teenager to join his hometown club Derry City in 2015 went on to establish himself as one of the finest midfielders in Ireland with some terrific performances for both the Candy Stripes and Rovers where he won the FAI Cup and league title.
That form carved open another cross-Channel move, this time to Scotland where he helped Hearts reach the Scottish Cup Final and finish third in their first season back in the SPL.
That personal development and experience gained playing senior football in the League of Ireland was crucial in rebuilding Aaron's career and with his brother's promising career at a crossroads following his release from Arsenal, he reckons another spell in Ireland could prove beneficial for the attacking midfield man who is five years his junior.
Having said that, Aaron wasn't giving much away about Jordan's potential next move, claiming his brother is fully focussed on continuing his rehabilitation from an injury which hampered his time at Shelbourne approaching the league's mid-season break last month.
"I'm not too sure," he said. "I think you will see in two weeks when he's properly fit. He will sit down and see what his options are but if it was a case of coming back to play in the League of Ireland he certainly shouldn't snub his nose up at it and he won't because he saw how it worked out for me. Jordan is really intelligent and understands so let's get him fit in two weeks and take it from there.
"With Jordan, (joining Shelbourne) was massive at the time because of the injuries he had consistently in England, that was a difficult few years for him. He had different injuries consistently.
"When he got back fit it was really important he got the chance to go and play senior football and test himself against senior players under Damien Duff and with Joey O'Brien the assistant, it was proper football people involved. It's a proper set-up at Shels now.
"He wasn't ever going to set the world alight but to get that experience will set him in good stead going forward in his career. He had a wee injury just before he left but he will be back fit in about two weeks and will be raring to go again. That loan spell didn't go as well as he would've wanted it to go but for me, I felt it was massive in his career to go and get that experience."
Aaron stopped short in suggesting what the next step for Jordan should be but is confident he will go on to fulfil his potential with a run of games.
"Jordan will do what's right for him," predicted Aaron. "When he gets fit it's important for him to stay fit and when he gets a run of games he shouldn't beat himself up at the start and keep plugging away. Keep the head down and work hard!
"The talent is there with Jordan, it's just about bringing it out in him. It was similar enough to me, I didn't start well when I came back to the league but it's just one day, you will play a game and everything you touch seems to go well and then your confidence builds from that and you just roll with it. When you have that one game and really get your confidence back, you kick on and I think that's what will happen to Jordan."