16 James McCarthy

irl Ireland
November 12, 1990

Everton secured the signing of international midfielder James McCarthy in a deadline-beating swoop in September 2013.

McCarthy had already racked up well over 100 Premier League appearances when he made the £13million move to Goodison Park.

He had also helped the Latics win the 2013 FA Cup when they recorded a shock 1-0 win over Manchester City just three months earlier.

McCarthy has now accrued over 100 appearances for Everton, forming an effective holding midfield partnership with the more experienced Gareth Barry.

Earlier in his career, McCarthy had been a teenage prodigy at Hamilton Academical in Scotland, making his debut aged 15. He quickly became a regular for the Accies and helped them to promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2008.

Such were his efforts the following season, he won the Scottish PFA Young Player of the Year award – with teams south of the border taking note.

McCarthy had already been on trial at Reading and Liverpool before Martinez made the then-18-year-old one of his first signings at the DW Stadium.

His comfort on the ball meant the midfielder quickly found a synergy with his manager’s desired style of play and in his first season in England he also won his first senior Ireland cap.

Despite being born in and so eligible for Scotland, McCarthy had already pledged his allegiance to the Republic of Ireland because of his Irish grandparents.

Almost 40 senior caps have since followed, including an appearance at the European Championships in 2016 when Republic of Ireland made it to the knockout stage.

McCarthy was handed the chance to take his career to the next level at Everton after the Latics finally dropped to the Championship in 2013.

McCarthy instantly became a Goodison favourite, with his energetic performances in the middle of midfield key in helping the Blues achieve their record Premier League points haul of 72 in 2013/14.

Evertonians had to wait a long time for McCarthy’s maiden goal for the Club, scoring in their 2-1 victory over Hull City on the last day of the 38-game grind.

He made the first UEFA Europa League appearance of his career the following season against Wolfsburg at Goodison Park, which was one of 37 appearances McCarthy made in all competitions in 2014/15.

In August 2015, McCarthy pledged his long-term future to Everton by agreeing a new five-year contract.

He continued to be a regular competitor in Everton’s midfield in 2015/16, scoring twice in games against Watford at Vicarage Road and Norwich City at Goodison Park.

Persistent hamstring problems hampered his playing time during Ronald Koeman’s first season in charge of the Blues.

The midfielder managed 13 games in the campaign, scoring one goal in the pulsating 6-3 triumph over Bournemouth at Goodison Park in February.