Former Everton stalwart Lee Carsley has claimed on the Toffees’ official website that midfielder James McCarthy can prove to be a “valuable” asset if he can prove to be consistent following his injury.
McCarthy, 27, was just one of a number of players struggling with long-term injuries at Everton, with Yannick Bolasie, Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori all spending plenty of time on the sidelines.
But the Republic of Ireland international returned to first-team action during the 2-1 loss to Bournemouth but was withdrawn at half-time, before coming on against Manchester United just after the hour mark.
Finally putting hamstring and knee problems behind him, McCarthy looks set to return after a torrid nine-month spell out of action and Carsley has mage a bold claim by stating Everton are a better team with McCarthy involved.
“James can be really valuable for Everton,” Carsley said. “Two or three years ago there was talk of him being one of the top midfielders in the Premier League.
“He has had a lot of bad luck with injures during his Everton career. But if he is at 100 per cent Everton are a better team with him in it. It would be good to have him back, fit, playing and enjoying his football again.”
McCarthy did return earlier in the season in David Unsworth’s first game in interim charge, but he picked up another subsequent hamstring injury in the Carabao Cup loss to Chelsea.
But now the former Wigan ace looks to have put his demons behind him and could start against Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Friday night in the third round of the FA Cup.
Much like McCarthy in his playing days, 43-year-old Carsley played 199 times in all competitions for the Toffees during a six-year spell at Goodison Park that lasted between 2002 and 2008. He is now assistant manager with England’s Under-21 side.