HE WASN’T EVEN present in Dublin for the Carling Nations Cup opener with Wales on Tuesday, but James McCarthy was the centre of attention throughout this week.
The young Wigan midfielder was told to remain with his club by manager Roberto Martinez as he has just recovered from injury. Speculation mounted that the uncapped young star might be set for a switch back to his native Scotland.
Manager Giovanni Trapattoni admitted he didn’t have the player’s phone number and the spectre of Stephen Ireland was raised. But the Sunday Times Paul Rowan asked Willie McCarthy, father of the player, if there was any personal issue with Trap.
“That is rubbish,” he said. “Hopefully, Mr Trapattoni will pick James for Macedonia and he will play.
“I don’t understand where all this is coming from. James has made his mind up and he is not going to change it.”
Latics coach Martinez, meanwhile, seems reluctant to leave his prized asset fly the coop. Speaking after yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, the Spaniard said: “At the moment he doesn’t feel ready to make a decision on his international career.
“To represent a country it has to be a feeling, a passion and that’s something he needs to find inside himself.
“We need to allow him to have time to think what is his real feeling about representing the right country. We always said that until the summer he is not going to think about international football and the country he is going to represent is going to be a very fortunate nation.”
The Irish News of the World report that McCarthy is set for a move in the summer to either Liverpool or Chelsea.
Read more from Paul Rowan in the print edition of today’s Sunday Times