The Socceroo has also expressed his love of Birmingham City, with whom he has been playing for over a year.  His loan club would love to keep him but may be unable to as MLS side Charlotte FC are eager for him to feature in their inaugural season.

Riley McGree Club Situation

  • The Socceroo signed with MLS club Charlotte FC in October 5, 2020.
  • Charlotte FC loaned McGree to Birmingham City the next month.
  • Birmingham are keen to keep McGree whose loan deal ends in January.

More Australian football news can be found on FTBL.

McGree made his professional debut in the A-League for Adelaide United in 2016.  He would also go on to play for Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City before returning to United.  However, after the  conclusion of the 2019-20 season, he signed with MLS club Charlotte FC.

Charlotte is an expansion MLS franchise.  It was created in 2019 but does not start play until 2022.  McGree was therefore sent on loan after signing with the club to Birmingham City in November 2020. 

While his arrival at the Championship side did result in somewhat of a slow start, his increasing quality of play lead to his call-up to the Socceroos fold earlier of this year.  McGree got his first senior cap in June and has since played seven times for Australia.

The 23-year old midfielder's loan to the English side was extended until January 2022.  McGree then continued his ascent at Birmingham City.  He has become particularly invaluable in the last two months, starting regularly and finding the back of the net twice.

The club and head coach Lee Bowyer have been trying to keep the Australian in England but have not had any luck with the MLS side.  Speaking to the Birmingham Mail on Friday, Bowyer said: 

“All I can tell you is what I have said before, Craig has been banging that drum, trying to make that happen – that Riley stays.

“I know Riley loves it here, he loves training, you see him every day with a smile on his face, he is learning every day and improving as a player.

“I believe he wants to stay, Craig is banging that drum but I think the contract is the contract. I don’t think there’s any way of turning that around.

“He is going out to America and he is one of their big name players from what I understand and I can’t see them changing their mind over there.”

The Mail had interviewed McGree last week about his current club tug-of-war situation.  Answering diplomatically, McGree said the following to the publication: 

“I’m just loving my football.  I will give everything for this club no matter what position I’m playing in. In training I’m pushing myself to get minutes here and there.

“It’s been really good to get some solid minutes and hopefully I can keep it up.

“It [going to Charlotte] is what it is at the moment. I’m going to give 100 per cent week in week out, game in game out for Birmingham.

“I love playing for this club. I love this club, and no matter where I’m playing or what I’m doing, I’m going to give 100 per cent for this club.

“I love English football. As a youngster growing up in Australia, this is ultimately where you want to have a young career and a good career. Time will tell. We will see what happens."

Questioned whether he could stay in England permanently McGree stated:  “Who knows? At the moment, my contractual situation is I go back in January to Charlotte.

"If that changes, I’m sure everyone will find out. I’ve got two years left with an option.

“Can I see that changing? I don’t know. Time will tell.

"Contractually right now, I’m planning to go back in January, but I’m just focusing on every game at Birmingham and we will see what happens.

“I want to play week in, week out wherever I am and I just love playing football.”

For now McGree has four more matches with Birmingham City in the month of December including the club's clash against Cardiff City this weekend.


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