Irish midfielder James McCarthy has spoken on his return to fitness and form with Crystal Palace this season as well as the potential for a recall to the national side.
Before the coronavirus outbreak caused the suspension of the season, McCarthy had started 10 Premier League games in a row for the first time since 2015, with the midfielder’s last five years awash with injury issues.
Hamstring injuries blighted much of his time with Everton and just as he was beginning to make his way back into the Toffees first team a leg break in January 2018 further hampered his progress.
“That took me back to square one,” he told Sky Sports. “It was tough mentally, to be honest, just trying to get my head around how long it was going to be.”
McCarthy also outlined that Irish captain Seamus Coleman, who suffered the same injury, was a massive help in his recovery.
“Seamie was always there for me from the minute it happened,” he says. “He showed me videos of the kind of work he had done during his recovery, and the physios at Everton were brilliant too.
“It was a long road, but as you get closer to recovery, you get more confident with your leg. First, you get back into the gym, then before you know it you’re back on the grass.”
After returning to fitness once again McCarthy left Everton to join Crystal Palace and has fought to break into the first team at Selhurst Park.
McCarthy’s form has been promising for Irish fans who have been hoping to see him return in a green shirt for the first time since October of 2016.
The midfielder had been called up to a couple of squads by Mick McCarthy, however he pulled out each time, with the former Irish boss questioning whether he felt he was ready on those occasions.
McCarthy though has, according to Sky Sports, spoken with new manager Stephen Kenny and is hoping that he can return to the Irish set-up provided he can stay fit.
“It’s a weird one. You don’t want to get carried away and say, ‘That’s me, I’m back to normal and I’m ready to go’ because you don’t want to jinx anything, do you know what I mean?
“But I feel good and I’m ready to go when the season starts again. We’ve got nine games left – nine big games, to be honest – and we want to finish on a high, especially with how we were playing before the lockdown. We’re on a good run and, as a squad, we believe we can push on and make sure we’re looking up rather than down.”
There’s no doubt that the return of McCarthy to the Irish setup would be a huge boost for Kenny as he looks to guide the Boys in Green through the upcoming European Championship playoff as well as World Cup qualifying.