He appears to be blossoming in the attacking setup at Wigan, engineered by coach Roberto Martinez, who has nothing but praise for his youthful midfielder. He said:
James McCarthy has got the potential to play anywhere in the world and whenever he’s ready we’ll never stop him.
Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but the comment only emphasises the belief McCarthy’s peers and coaches have in him. This is a player set for big things, but much of his development must go down to the work of Wigan.
Plucked from Hamilton Academical in 2009 for a fee of around £1.2m, McCarthy has mustered up over 90 appearances for the Latics since his arrival and indeed has featured heavily in this season appearing in every domestic match so far.
Fuelled by a high work rate, ferocious athleticism and wonderful close control, the box-to-box central midfielder is more commonly known for assisting his teammates than putting the ball in the back of the net. Having said that, though, he does have two goals to his name this campaign.
And both of them came just last weekend against struggling Queens Park Rangers, as McCarthy produced a magical performance to rally his side to a 2-2 draw at home. Two fantastically taken goals, in addition to his overall dominant display in the middle of the park.
But it’s not just with his club that the elegant no.4 is excelling – he is also starting to shine for Republic of Ireland’s national side. Born in Scotland to Irish heritage, McCarthy decided to opt for the latter in terms of international football as they offered him a call-up first.
He has nine caps for the first team and nearly made Ireland’s Euro 2012 squad but unfortunately was withdrawn from selection following his father’s diagnosis with cancer.
The boy from Glasgow is continuing to enlighten the DW Stadium week in week out and for sure, Wigan Athletic have a hard job on their hands in attempting to secure the services of McCarthy for another good few years.