Why James McCarthy to Celtic would be a well-planned move
According to the Daily Record, Crystal Palace star James McCarthy has expressed his desire to play for Celtic somewhere down the line in his career, with the Irishman revealing that he grew up a kid in Glasgow and supported the Hoops.
In an exclusive interview, the 28-year-old has recalled his memories of making trips to Parkhead along with his brothers to witness the red-hot atmosphere of the Old Firm clashes. (h/t Daily Record)
Born Glasgow, McCarthy started his career in the youth ranks of Hamilton Academical before making his professional bow in 2006-07 and a successful campaign in the Scottish top-flight in the 2008-09 season paved the way for a move south of the border to Wigan Athletic.
The tough-tackling, yet creative central midfielder went on to make 115 Premier League appearances for the Latics over the course of four impressive seasons and won the FA Cup under the stewardship of manager Roberto Martinez before switching boats to join Everton in 2013.
McCarthy made an instant impact in Merseyside and established himself as one of the mainstays of the Toffees’ first-team in his first three seasons at the club, thus enhancing his reputation as one of the best all-round midfielders in the Premier League.
However, the 28-year-old’s progress at Everton was thwarted by injuries and the Irishman completed a move to Crystal Palace this summer in a bid to resurrect his faltering career, with his last three seasons at Goodison Park yielding only 17 appearances in the Premier League.
Things haven’t really gone according to the script for James McCarthy since his summer move to Selhurst Park, though, with the midfielder struggling to earn the trust of Roy Hodgson.
The 28-year-old has only started a single game for the Eagles in the Premier League thus far while playing a further five cameos off the bench and it is a no-brainer that a player of his calibre will be looking forward to more involvement in the coming months.
McCarthy has a contract in South London until 2022 but it is hard to envisage him staying for that period if he continues to struggle for regular minutes in the Premier League.
Having suffered some serious injury nightmares over the past few years, the Irishman needs the backing of his manager to regain his confidence and playing a bit-part role isn’t really going to do him any good.
To that end, it won’t be a surprise if the prospect of a move north of the border to one of the most decorated clubs appeals to James McCarthy, who grew up as a kid supporting Celtic on the terraces at Parkhead.
The report doesn’t mention whether Celtic are exploring the possibility of signing him in the near future but it won’t be a bad idea for the reigning Scottish champions to respond to the player’s come-and-get-me plea.
At 28, McCarthy still has plenty of years remaining in his professional career and the chance to play for the club that he grew up supporting as a kid, coupled with the obvious drop in the level of intensity and competition north of the border, could go a long way towards helping the Irishman rediscover his mojo.
Celtic, of course, have the likes of Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic, Nir Bitton, Callum McGregor and Ryan Christie as options in the middle of the park but with Scott Brown already in the autumn of his career at 34 and Eboue Kouassi badly out of favour under Neil Lennon, the Hoops should look at the possibility of bringing James McCarthy back to Scotland.
The 28-year-old has the versatility to adapt seamlessly to holding, box-to-box and attacking roles in the middle of the park and his well-rounded attributes, as well as his wealth of Premier League experience, should make him an instant upgrade on several existing names in Celtic’s ranks.
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Suffice to say, Celtic eyeing a swoop for James McCarthy in the near future would make perfect sense for a number of reasons, although the Hoops might have their work cut out in meeting Palace’s asking price for the gifted midfielder.