Riley McGree on big sacrifice he has had to make to continue his football journey in England and the USA

McGree has made 12 appearances in all competitions for the Blues so far this season

It will be a sad day for Birmingham City when Riley McGree returns to Charlotte FC in January.

After a start to the campaign which saw him not playing many minutes whatsoever, he has since become one of the Blues most consistent and reliable performers over the course of the last six weeks or so.

Sign up to our BirminghamWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Riley McGree of Birmingham City takes a corner kick during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Reading

He’s arguably one of the first names on the team-sheet for both Lee Bowyer and fans alike but his return to the States is inevitable and Bowyer has gone on record in saying it’s a move that can’t be stopped.

It’s rubbish news for everyone involved. McGree is enjoying his football and Birmingham are enjoying having him around the place.

But whilst it is an unfortunate scenario - spare a thought for young McGree. The Australian is being tossed between America & England for club football whilst also traveling some of Earth’s more southern continents during international duties and yet because of the current way of the world - he still can’t see those closest to him.

Speaking after the 1-0 win over Blackpool, the midfielder revealed that he hadn’t seen his own family or girlfriend for over 15 months because of the coronavirus pandemic and still has no clear idea of when he will next be able to.

He acknowledged that it was the sacrifice you make if you want to become a success within the footballing landscape but for anyone, let alone someone that has just turned 23, that takes some serious mental strength.

“I haven’t seen my family since I first came here [October 2020] but that’s a sacrifice you take as a footballer,” McGree said.

“Hopefully I’ll see them sooner rather than later.

“It’s completely out of my control - you have got to control the controllables and these things, you really can’t do much about.

“As a professional footballer it’s a big sacrifice you have to make but it’s one that I’ve made and I’ve got to deal with.

“My mum, my dad, my siblings and I do have a girlfriend as well - she’s over in Australia so yeah, the whole extended family as well I haven’t seen them in an even longer time.

“As an Australian footballer you want to come to Europe and play football - that’s the ultimate goal so you have to be prepared for this - I’m living the dream.”

McGree has just five appearances left with the Blues before he returns to Charlotte FC - the last being the home game against Peterborough United on December 29.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.