Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy remained coy on a potential return to the Irish squad for James McCarthy, despite the midfielder impressing in the Premier League with Crystal Palace.
McCarthy has worked his way into the first team at Selhurst Park since his arrival from Everton last summer and has started the last nine Premier League games for Roy Hodgson’s men.
The 29-year-old’s performances have been tipped for an international recall. However, McCarthy has pulled out of the last couple of squads he’s been selected for. His last appearance for the Boys in Green was back in October of 2016.
There’s no doubt that his inclusion in the squad for the upcoming games in March would be a huge boost for Ireland.
And despite not featuring at international level for three and a half years his namesake, Mick, outlined that the midfielder would be more than capable of stepping up.
“The exception is that he’s played before, he wouldn’t be coming in and making a debut. It wouldn’t be alien to him and all new to him. He wouldn’t be nervous about it, so there is an exception for him, yeah.”
Given McCarthy’s recent decisions to step away from squads, either through injuries or wanting to focus on his form at club level, questions had arisen as to whether or not the Palace man would ever return to the squad.
“You can ask him that question (if he is committed),” said Mick McCarthy.
“I think because of his injuries he’s probably been a little bit hesitant in coming in and playing.
“Maybe he thought he wouldn’t be playing and wanted to get back his club form first.
“He’s got that back. It’s whether I pick him now or not. We’ll see.
“There’s two or three times I’ve selected him and he’s not come in for whatever reason, whether it was his injury or he wanted to get his form back, didn’t think he was ready, we’ll see now.”
McCarthy has a number of options at his disposal in the midfield area with Jayson Molumby, Jason Knight and Josh Cullen all impressing at Championship level.
The Ireland manager also noted that Glenn Whelan has found regular first-team football again with League One Fleetwood Town.