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Stephen Kenny predicts big role for James McCarthy in new Ireland team

james mccarthy

“There is more to come from James.”

Stephen Kenny has predicted big things for James McCarthy in the Republic of Ireland team. It looks like the midfielder, if he stays fit, could become a key player for the new Ireland manager.

james mccarthy

McCarthy’s recent career

James McCarthy has not played for the Republic of Ireland since 2016. The midfielder suffered a nightmare leg-break at the start of 2018 and missed over a year of football.

He then signed for Crystal Palace last summer but did not feature under the previous Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.

The midfielder, however, played 35 times for Palace last season and is now back in the Ireland squad for the Uefa Nations League games against Finland and Bulgaria.

McCarthy’s new manager has talked up his talent and predicted a big role for him over the next few months.

“We haven’t utilised his talent overall.”

“I know James hasn’t played (for Ireland) since 2016, and there were a couple of tough years there for him with injuries,” Kenny told the assembled media at a press conference on Monday afternoon.

“It can be mentally tough when that happens. He is someone who is extremely talented.

“He has an exceptional range of passing. I don’t think we have utilised him in his best position a lot.

“We haven’t utilised his talent overall. And injuries have prevented him becoming sort of regarded as the best midfield player of the generation, which in my mind he is.”

“It could be a good combination.”

Kenny also said McCarthy is at the peak of his powers and he has the passing ability to get Ireland playing on the front foot.

“He’s only 29 now. So, even some of his best performances might be ahead of him if he can stay fit. If we can get him facing the goal and get the ball to him in midfield with the speed that we’ve got, attacking options and the speed, it could be a good combination.”

“He needs that space to receive the ball and really utilise his range of passing. In a midfield three, in the centre, is where I think he is utilised the best.

“There is more to come from James.”

“In the last few years, he has been (Ireland’s) most expressive passer. Maybe because he has been the second midfielder he can’t go deep to get it.

“There are bodies in the area, it’s congested, he’s having to play it backwards and go long so it has been hard for him. Injuries have obviously interrupted. It is just one of those unfortunate situations.

“There is more to come from James.”

Ireland take on Bulgaria in Sofia next Thursday in the Nations League, before hosting Finland in Dublin three days later.

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