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McCarthy unmoved by criticism of his international form

31/03/2015  Comments (125)  jump
James McCarthy has shrugged off some sharp criticism from the likes of RTE pundit Eamon Dunphy and ex-Irish international Liam Brady, saying "it's water off a duck's back."

The Everton midfielder came in for a no-holds-barred assessment of his performance in the Republic's 1-1 draw with Poland from Dunphy on the Game On radio show last night, who branded him 'a terrible flop'.

McCarthy is really turning out to be a terrible flop, Dunphy said. He doesn't do anything. He could be a holding player perhaps doing what [Glenn] Whelan is supposed to be doing.

Because for Everton occasionally — I don't agree with you that he's a different player for Everton, he isn't, he's just perhaps got better players around him. But he still doesn't really move the ball forwards. He never really changes the tempo of the game, this is the key.

He is overrated... The point about McCarthy — it's interesting. He's a hyped player. He's a player that everyone thinks is far, far better than he is. We haven't got time to waste with Whelan and McCarthy.

Brady, meanwhile, used his absences from the international scene due to injury this season to question the 24 year-old's passion.

McCarthy had a long-running battle with hamstring problems earlier in the campaign, sometimes damaging the muscle in the last match before an international break and being forced to pull out of his country's Euro 2016 qualifiers.

"Without doubt, McCarthy and his club-mate, Seamus Coleman, are the best players we have operating in the Premier League," Brady said, "but it is a worry to see McCarthy miss games for Ireland and then, the following week, play for Everton. I don't know whether he's just shy or really has a passion to play for Ireland."

The former Hamilton and Wigan man isn't fazed by comments about him, however, and his Ireland manager, Martin O'Neill has also come to his defence this week.

It's people from the outside, if they want to say something, they say something, McCarthy is quoted as saying.

It's water off a duck's back. I'm not fussed. I've had it since I've turned out for Ireland, people having gos, shouts from here and there. I've always had stick, but it doesn't bother me.

O'Neill, meanwhile, said: "I don't think I've any need to question anyone's passion to play for Ireland. I genuinely don't think that. It's not just a sound bite, I genuinely feel that.

"They might not perform as well but that doesn't mean the players don't want to play.

"James has had a few problems, as you know. He had hamstring problems way back some time ago and had to take quite a few weeks out. In one year, he has only played one game for us."

Quotes sourced from Irish Examiner

Reader Comments (125)

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Stuart Mitchell
1 Posted 31/03/2015 at 15:30:33
Has put in some great performances in a defensive sense, but would agree is over rated and would not be to fussed if he moved to another club.
Ross Edwards
2 Posted 31/03/2015 at 15:40:48
Dunphy is just bitter. He had a nothing career as a player and now spends most of his time ranting and raving drunkenly about anyone that breathes.

HeÂ’s an irrelevant nomark who hasnÂ’t got a clue about football. Basically IrelandÂ’s version of Adrian Durham. Loudmouth, opinionated, chats utter shite just to gain attention and remain relevant.

David Flanagan
3 Posted 31/03/2015 at 15:45:16
I agree with him in many ways. McCarthy can and should do far more. He seldom passes forward even when options are available and needs to take more responsibility. He has shown in flashes that he can do it but we need to see far more of it.
Stuart Mitchell
4 Posted 31/03/2015 at 15:47:51
Ross, any Comments about McCarthy?
Michael Kenrick
5 Posted 31/03/2015 at 15:53:18
"But he still doesnÂ’t really move the ball forwards. He never really changes the tempo of the game, this is the key."

IÂ’m guessing Ross kinda did the speed-read thing through that bit...

Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 31/03/2015 at 15:44:36
I only watched the second half and thought McCarthy was decent. Do think heÂ’s got all the attributes to be a great player, but is he happy just playing the role he does now?

Good players, turn into very good players, by trying to do a little bit more. So maybe McCarthy is in the comfort zone, because under Martinez, he is never really expected to take the ball forward. His main job is to sit, and cover the fullbacks, which he does very well, but will this ever take him to the next level?

He moves the ball on as well as any player, and maybe this is what Dunphy is saying. If he played with better players, this would be okay, but until he does, maybe his role will always appear limited.

Liam Reilly
7 Posted 31/03/2015 at 16:00:47
Difference is at Everton his job is to cover the defense but with IrelandÂ’s limited footballers he shoulders a different responsibility. HeÂ’s asked to control the football game; something that heÂ’s capable of and needs to do it more often.

Dunphy can be an arse and talks like the cantankerous old soul you meet in the pub on a Saturday evening, but on McCarthy heÂ’s right. The lad has the talent but doesnÂ’t own the games the way he should.

Something is holding him back; fear of failure; who knows; but he should be so much better for club and country.

Charlie Dixon
8 Posted 31/03/2015 at 16:08:54
I agree with most of what he says. Gibson has shown more going forward in a handful of games than McCarthy has all year. Still rate him and think heÂ’ll improve as he gets older. HeÂ’s only 24 after all!
Jay Wood
9 Posted 31/03/2015 at 16:10:39
Pretty fair observations by Dunphy IMO, echoing many posters here on TW.

Nice, safe, secure Â’break upÂ’ type of player, but a player who takes a game by the scruff of the neck and dictates the tempo of things, who makes incisive passes that turns the opposition and puts them on the back foot..?

Nope! Still waiting to see that from McCarthy myself. Perhaps another player overhyped by his club manager as to what he is capable of.

Of course the principal role he plays for Everton is enough if, for example, he was partnered with a creative midfielder who can do those things Dunphy says James lacks.

Now if only we had a talented 21 year old (NON-striker) midfielder who had exactly those skill sets and the team was set up to harness their collective skills to our advantage ...

Jonny Flynn
10 Posted 31/03/2015 at 16:25:36
Dunphy is a mouthpiece who thinks no-one has an opinion like his own. To say McCarthy is a flop is ridiculous. He earned Ireland the free kick for the equaliser. He does work that goes unnoticed most of the time. Take him out of the Everton team this year and we would be in dire soup.

Dunphy sang our praises last year especially Coleman and McCarthy now both are poor. Watch next year both be world class. He sees what he wants.

Brian Hennessy
12 Posted 31/03/2015 at 16:34:47
I think Ireland have a similar problem to Everton and it comes down to both managers’ selections.

Martin O’Neill played two defensive midfielders (McCarthy and Whelan), just like Martinez keeps playing McCarthy and Barry. None of these players are creative in any way.

Surely one defensive midfielder is enough in any team.

Peter Moore
15 Posted 31/03/2015 at 16:51:27
Yer wrong Dunphy
Peter Carpenter
16 Posted 31/03/2015 at 16:59:00
ItÂ’s a good analysis of what McCarthy needs to do next.
Frank Wade
18 Posted 31/03/2015 at 16:37:48
There are no grey areas with Dunphy. You are either brilliant (Wes Hoolahan) or a flop (James McCarthy), whereas the reality is always somewhere in between.

James McCarthy seems to play his game to the letter of his instructions, presumably from Martinez. Break up the play, cover the full backs, pass to a blue shirt. The fact that this blue shirt could be standing 5 yards square or back is not important. Pass to that Blue shirt. Sometimes this season, we have even seen a number of 5 yard passes to the same blue shirt in quick succession. This ploy works wonders for possession and passing stats on Opta. We have also seen glimpses of him getting forward in recent games, with his run for his first goal and a beautiful flick to set up a Lukaku chance, so the talent is there.

Wes Hoolahan, on the other hand, is a ball player, always looking for the pass and the next pass. If he passes that 5 yards back or square, he will be on the move, into space again always looking for the ball and the killer pass.

I don’t think you can compare the two players. McCarthy is not a ’Flop’ because he can’t play like Hoolahan, nor vice versa. Martin O’Neill won’t play Hoolahan in an away match because he feels, wrongly in my opinion, that he can’t contribute. Trappatoni wouldn’t play him at all.

Agree with Ross above re Dunphy, but McCarthy is in good company as far as Dunphy’s analysis goes. In 2008 Euros on Irish TV he wrote off David Silva in a similar fashion and after a Man UTD - Bayern game a few years ago, wrote off a certain Thomas Muller.

Patrick Murphy
19 Posted 31/03/2015 at 17:14:19
I don’t think there is a single player in the Everton Squad who hasn’t been labelled as inadequate or useless at some point this season, I suppose it only reflects the fact that most of the season has been a complete waste of space and IF we start playing well and winning football matches the mood will probably change.
Liam Reilly
20 Posted 31/03/2015 at 17:18:38
There’s a very small minority in this thread slating McCarthy, Patrick.

The general opinion on him appears to me to be that he’s good but he could be great.

Denis Richardson
21 Posted 31/03/2015 at 17:10:39
Most people saying the same thing... ie, he’s got it in his locker but isn’t doing it at the minute. We have however been saying that for a while now... so my question is: When IS he going to start showing it and getting the ball forward more?

For 㾹m I would have liked a central midfielder who did more than just tackle tbh. He’s still only 24 but this is now his 7th full season in the top flight so it’s not like he’s a novice.

Nice to see him finally score for us not too long ago – hopefully there’s plenty more to come. We could certainly do with more goals and assists from the likes of McCarthy, Besic, Barry and Gibson.

Colin Glassar
22 Posted 31/03/2015 at 17:21:30
Maybe itÂ’s a generational thing but once they put on the Everton shirt I support them, shite or not.
Denis Richardson
23 Posted 31/03/2015 at 17:23:28
Colin 17 - going on form alone (not talent) which players have had a decent/great season so far?

If the list is a little thin, then you’ve probably answered your question, no?

Sam Rangle
24 Posted 31/03/2015 at 17:21:27

I also think fans here think the players are "no good" because the talent had been coached out of them. I canÂ’t think of one player who has had a "good season" come to think of it. Is it the fault of over 20 young men who played lights out last year, or the fault of one man who is the most overrated manager weÂ’ve had in out history.

Regarding Macca I tend to agree to a point. He offers next to. I thing going forwards. Not one "key pass" that I can remember (happy to be reminded of one) and only one goal in 2 seasons. That would be fine if we were getting goals from other places but weÂ’re not. Goals are needed from everyone.

Brian Harrison
25 Posted 31/03/2015 at 17:25:12
I said a few weeks back that if, 18 months ago, I had a choice between McCarthy and Henderson, then I would have picked McCarthy. But of late, sadly, I would have to pick Henderson; he has added goals to his game; apart from his goal last week, we hardly ever see McCarthy have a shot on target.

When he first came, he looked like a very good box-to-box player but the last 12 months he hardly ever ventures forward, and his passing is usually back or across. Whether the way he plays now is because that’s what RM wants him to do I don’t know. But I would have hoped by now he would have started controlling games for us and he doesn’t. He is still young and can become a very good midfield player but he needs to take that responsibility himself.

Jay Wood
26 Posted 31/03/2015 at 17:22:07
Colin @ 17 and Patrick @ 19

Very strange comments and unjustified generalisations IMO.

We do not have a squad of ’shite’ players. We have a squad of very talented players. Personally, I like and rate the overwhelming majority of our squad. Equally, this season, the overwhelming majority of our squad has grossly underperformed.

You accept 3-4 players going through a bad spell at some stage of the season, but the entire squad for 8-9 months...?

I’ll ask again: what is the single common denominator that could be responsible for such a universal failure by the same individuals and team compared to last season?

Ross Edwards
27 Posted 31/03/2015 at 17:40:20
Michael, you’re right, I did speed read it. Everything he said after comparing him to Wes Hoolahan is redundant quite frankly.

And true to form, I say again, he is a nomark who likes the sound of his own voice. In fact, I guarantee that if Quinn started and McCarthy didn’t, and Ireland lost, he’d have ranted about Martin O’Neill’s team selections.

He shouts his blinkered views, then when he’s proved wrong he backtracks all the time. He was up Roy Keane’s backside one time, then a few years later called him a bullshitter.

He frequently slated Mick McCarthy when he was Ireland manager, then a few years later that he wanted him back to replace Trapattoni.

He ranted about Ronaldo then was forced to backtrack saying he was wrong and went on about how wonderful he is.

His opinion is irrelevant and he is just a dinosaur. He never played the game at a high level but acts like his views are all important and always right.

Tony Hill
28 Posted 31/03/2015 at 18:43:38
McCarthy has had a mixed season, starting badly but having some very good periods too. He has not hit the heights of last season and has obviously suffered injury.

I think though that he’s an excellent defensive midfielder and that we are very lucky to have him. We should be looking for him to be a crucial part of our side for the next 10 years. I don’t care what he does for the Republic or what a professional stirrer like Dunphy says. He will get better and there is no reason why he cannot introduce a more incisive element to his game.

A top player.

Patrick Murphy
29 Posted 31/03/2015 at 18:37:12
Jay, I never said any Everton player was ’Shite’ nor did I make reference to my personal viewpoint about individual Everton players, most of the team have played way below their capabilities which is why the results have not been what we would have wished for, which in turn makes some posters more severe in their criticism than is probably justified.

But I could have submitted the same post on any thread relating to any individual Everton player in the past six months – how many times has one of our players been compared to an LFC player? McCarthy to Henderson, Coutinho to Barkley etc etc – some people forget that the wages and transfer fees paid to those LFC players dwarf the amount spent by Everton. The latest 20-year-old wonder who plies his trade across the park is reportedly contemplating turning down 𧴰k per week; will Barkley or McCarthy or even Lukaku be earning that sort of money at Goodison?

Regardless of the money element I can’t see how comparing Everton players to those from across the park helps us to understand the lack of form of our own team.

I also agree that the common denominator would appear to be the manager but you also have to wonder if there has been some form of belt-tightening operation going on behind the scenes or perhaps the players didn’t get something that they were promised or felt that the squad hadn’t been sufficiently improved to allow them to make a concerted challenge. Whatever the problem is / was, it does need addressing... and pretty damn quickly.

James Joseph
30 Posted 31/03/2015 at 18:47:49
I agree with a lot of what’s been written on here about both McCarthy and Dunphy. I think a far more pertinent critique of James was the one given a while back by John Giles which got some on here a bit het up at the time.

Only those who know or play with James will know whether Giles is right or whether he’s one of those players so beloved by coaches because he goes out and does exactly what they ask him to do every week, no more, no less – keep possession, pass it square etc. Personally, I think he has a lot more to offer than that.

Eugene Ruane
31 Posted 31/03/2015 at 18:48:56
Dunphy is a poisonous, self-serving little weasel who constantly contradicts himself.

His opinions (opinions that change with the wind) aren’t worth a wank.

Yes it’s entertaining at first when a pundit turns up pissed and/or rants and raves, but I lived in Dublin for 8 years and believe me, the novelty wears thin - fast.

He’s a nob-head and here’s a sample of some of his nob-headishness..


James Stewart
32 Posted 31/03/2015 at 18:58:56
Harsh comments which are a bit misplaced and ill-informed. McCarthy is a vital cog when placed in a well-oiled machine. He’s not a playmaker or a creative of any kind but play him to his strengths and he’s the least of Ireland’s problems.

The bigger question for me is can you really judge the quality of a player by how he performs in internationals? Not for me. 90% of international matches are utterly meaning less. What can you say about the England side after they beat Lithuania? Nothing its a completely pointless exercise. Major competitions still obviously hold weight but nowhere near as much as the Champions League or major club leagues. That is where players earn their bread and butter and it is no surprise that a lot of players can’t really be bothered with anything else.

Pete Edwards
33 Posted 31/03/2015 at 19:11:50
He sounds like a right bitter tit who has it in for McCarthy for being injured previously.

Andy Crooks
34 Posted 31/03/2015 at 19:21:42
Dunphy is yesterday’s man who has to shout louder and louder to try and appear relevant. McCarthy, in my view, should never be in the same side as Barry. He has a lot to offer but it is as an enabler. He should be doing the work for Barkley, not the same job as Barry.

Dunphy is an embarrassment. Brady, well, I watched Celtic under him and he’s an embarrassment too.

Brian Hennessy
35 Posted 31/03/2015 at 19:24:58
Although Dunphy does talk shite some of the time, give me the RTE panel anytime rather than the Sky/ITV or BBC, you cannot argue that they are not entertaining and at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.

Dave Abrahams
36 Posted 31/03/2015 at 19:15:43
I’m a big James McCarthy fan and like what he does for Everton but I keep expecting him to do more going forward.

I’m sure he has more than he shows in his locker and I’ve seen him do it for the Blues but not often enough, so is Martinez restricting him from going forward or is Macca happy to carry on the way he plays?

Denis Richardson
37 Posted 31/03/2015 at 19:38:07
Off topic I know, but perfect timing for EFC again. Now that we have zero chance of getting into Europe next season it’s just been announced that the EL prize money will be significantly higher going forward...

Almost double what it is at the moment... I guess we’ll have to aim for 2017.

Paul Hughes
38 Posted 31/03/2015 at 20:02:48
After Dunphy said Ronaldo was overrated, not a good player a passenger on whatever team he played for, I quit watching RTE. After his latest comments, I see he is still talking shit!
Andy Meighan
39 Posted 31/03/2015 at 21:01:48
Jonny (#10), we’ve been in dire soup all season... or haven’t you bothered looking at the performances or the table or the early exits out of the cups?

McCarthy’s performances have been poor, if you ask me, but he’s not alone, is he? But for 㾹M, I want more. Yes, he can put a shift in but he hasn’t taken a game by the scruff of the neck and one goal a season is hardly a good return. Yes, Dunphy is a bellend but on this one he’s got a valid point.

Christy Ring
40 Posted 31/03/2015 at 21:09:23
DunphyÂ’s a hypocrite, a bully who never made it as a footballer. He slated Venables and backed Trapp for the Irish job (who was a disaster) and slated him before he left, thatÂ’s what youÂ’re dealing with. I have great faith in McCarthy who covers for Barry in every game, as for Brady a bitter little man who was part of TrappatonniÂ’s staff who never criticized his team selection (sneak).
Gavin McGarvey
41 Posted 31/03/2015 at 21:45:51
Young player still McCarthy with bags of potential. When I read the Irish reaction to McCarthy/Coleman, you can tell they haven’t got a really strong idea of what’s been happening to those players at Everton this season. They think he’s been skiving, and wonder why he’s played for us and missed so many for them.

To some degree, fair enough, but you expect better from "Expert" commentators. McCarthy has had a nightmare of a season mainly because of injury but also because he’s been having to cover the ageing of Barry, and a team in crisis. I know he’s not been great, but in some ways he has (along with Lukaku and Osman) saved us. Without him we may have been relegated.

As for the future, well it’s difficult to tell. He’s a midfield player with lots of energy and no little skill. As such, he has come to be a big influence on Everton. Whether he can translate that into dominating games and also bring in more attacking intent, well, that’s a big ask.

I think it’s unfair to judge him on this season. He’s been in and out of a side that’s been struggling. Whether he can turn into Roy Keane or Diego Maradonna is difficult to tell.

To be honest, I’d be fairly happy if he got his game back to what it was last season. He made life really difficult for the opposition, breaking up their play and setting up our own. Not a bad thing for a midfielder to do.

Alex Jones
42 Posted 31/03/2015 at 22:37:54
I have to wonder what most of you McCarthy fan boys have been smoking? Have you ever watched him play? He’s a coward in my opinion, he only plays well if the team plays well. I’ve never seen him grab a game by the scruff of the neck like Gibson has done since he came back from injury. You need your central midfielders to be your leaders, to take control of a game when we’re not playing well and impose their will on it and bring the rest of the team up with them.

McCarthy just hides when the team is having a bad game and he always always takes the safe, cowardly option. He never puts himself out and tries something difficult that might not come off.

Running about a lot because your positional sense is atrocious and so you constantly need to sprint to get back in position is not indicative of a good ’defensive midfielder’ either. He’s been at fault for plenty of goals this season and he’s certainly not contributed going forward.

I’d get rid in summer before Spurs start actually watching him rather than believing the completely misplaced hype.

Andy Crooks
43 Posted 01/04/2015 at 01:06:02
Alex, it seems to me that you are missing the point. I don’t think anyone expects McCarthy to be a playmaker. He plays, very well, in my view the role the coach gives him. Are you mixing him up with Glenn Hoddle?

Also, he is not a coward.

John Barnes
44 Posted 01/04/2015 at 06:59:09
’Coward’ is a strong word to use and I think Gavin sums it up well. I just think there is so much more McCarthy can do in games. He’s got the energy to dominate box-to-box but too often he plays safe. Potential still...
Jim Bennings
45 Posted 01/04/2015 at 08:27:50
Very harsh criticism. I wouldn’t ever criticise McCarthy that severely but I have said in some of my posts at times that he can be bolder and charge forward more occasionally than he does.

I loved him as a player last season; I thought he was the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League but I started questioning: Could he add more strings to his bow? I honestly believe he can because he has the strengths, the fitness and the powerful physique.

I think at Everton this season we have tended to be more critical because the midfield hasn’t produced the goals it did last season with Barkley not scoring anywhere near the same amount, we are putting the microscope on McCarthy, and Besic, Barry (who hasn’t performed as well this season).

Gibson offers more creativity than all three of the above, he’s the only one who can spray the ball forward but with Gibson we, know injury is never far away.

The fans always seem to fall in love with players who run a lot, this probably became the norm after Marcus Bent’s solo striker efforts in 2004-05. It’s why people took to McCarthy last year.

Both Besic and McCarthy run around a lot but for all their energy spent running this season, the midfield has struggled terribly and only since Gibson and Lennon have come in has it started to look more controlled.

The target for McCarthy personally next season should be to add four or five goals to his game at least to start with.

Anthony Hughes
46 Posted 01/04/2015 at 08:45:30
He’s not a coward and gives 100% every game but a guy with 250 first team games and 25 international caps is way beyond the potential stage. As a midfielder with an aspiring top 6 team then I think he should be doing more than passing sideways, playing safe and be lauded for his running ability. I do like McCarthy but I don’t believe he’s a top drawer midfielder.
Andrew Ellams
47 Posted 01/04/2015 at 08:36:12
Sam @24, not sure players have had talent coached out of them but I would say that tactics are strangling those talents and definitely not making the most of the playes strengths.

For McCarthy also read Coleman, Baines, Barkley and Lukaku.

Declan Martin
48 Posted 01/04/2015 at 09:31:36
I don’t think anybody in Ireland takes Dunphy seriously as a football pundit. He has been shown time and time again to have little knowledge of what goes on in a modern football match.

He tries to compensate for this (to keep himself in a job, presumably) by mouthing off on some ’controversial viewpoint’ – designed, of course, to keep himself in the news. Even with that, he is long past his sell-by date. He has become a self-parody.

On the subject of McCarthy, he has been in outstanding form for Everton over the past two seasons. His activity with the Republic of Ireland has been a bit more curtailed, through no fault of his own. Genuine Irish football supporters – even those, like myself, who are not afraid to dish out criticism where it is due – would have McCarthy as one of the first names on the teamsheet at any time.

Dunphy, in the meantime, can stay in his room making silly noises and hope that somebody will listen to him.

Trevor Powell
49 Posted 01/04/2015 at 09:58:13
I know this post will come as a pathetic tangent but, back in the old days of the late sixties, matchday programmes came with a free copy of the Football League Review magazine.

In school one Monday morning, the RS were all showing off the latest FLR that was in the Redshite’s weekend home game programmme against Wolves. The main focus was the weekly team centre-fold featuring Millwall... Eamonn Dunphy with his todger well on view thanks to his shorts positioning malfunction!

Does anyone have that photo? A bit more worrying is why I can’t take the man seriously!

Rick Tarleton
50 Posted 01/04/2015 at 10:06:07
McCarthy’s a good holding midfielder, but to see the word ’great’ bandied round about him devalues the language. He does a good job for Everton, but has limited vision and plays safe, rarely setting up attacks.

Dunphy may have been an average player, but he’s perceptive and wrote one of the few great football books, "Only a Game?" You don’t have to be a great player to have a valid opinion... otherwise, most of us on this site would be totally ineligible.

Jonny Flynn
51 Posted 01/04/2015 at 10:40:13
Andy #39 I mean ’dire’ as in ’staring down both barrels of relegation’, not a situation of ’piss poor but safe’.
Dominic Ward
52 Posted 01/04/2015 at 11:28:36
As I remember the only thing Dunphy did in his career was be in a Millwall team photo with his tool hanging out.
Mike Childs
53 Posted 01/04/2015 at 11:08:58
I am certainly a Jimmy Mac fanboy but I admit being disappointed with his play more than a few times this year. He does need to add goals and more forward passes to his game because he has shown it’s there. Imagine if he hadn’t been playing for BBS the last 5 years or so where he might be.

I believe he still isn’t 100% as I haven’t seen him make a tackle since October. Strict orders from the fool on the hill, imo.

Harold Matthews
54 Posted 01/04/2015 at 09:32:06
Yes Andrew, It’s difficult to criticize someone when you don’t know their instructions. For me, he appears to have two main priorities in his head: 1) Do not lose possession... and 2) Be ready for a counter-attack if someone else loses possession – and, oh my, are we good at losing possession.

Of course, like all right-side midfielders, he will keep his eye on the opposition left back and winger, especially if the latter beats Coleman and cuts in.

Now people like Pirlo, Alonso, YaYa Toure, Carrick and Gibson, who can dominate games are not bogged down by all the defensive instructions in McCarthy’s head. The same goes for Lampard, Gerrard and Co who can get into the box and score goals.

That said, midfielders like Ramirez, Henderson and others in the McCarthy position do manage to get forward but they probably have more trust in the men behind them. Our boy is aware that Barry and Gibbo no longer have the legs to chase back and this will certainly come into his calculations.

More than once on TW, I have suggested that he should wear luminous boots because he does so many good things which go unnoticed. There were times when I had to look for his № 16 to make sure it was him.

Anyway, I do like the lad and Martinez said he’s the one player he would never sell. Always rushed back from injury and rarely subbed, he is a talented team player who loves playing for Everton and will hopefully add more things to his game as he continues to progress.

Finally, thanks Eugene for the Dunphy link. Hilarious stuff indeed. Best laugh I’ve had all week.

Tony Abrahams
55 Posted 01/04/2015 at 11:39:00
Alex Jones (#42). What game has Gibson ever grabbed by the scruff of his neck? Not just since he came back from injury, but ever?

A few good passes, certainly, but I’ve never seen him dominate a game yet.

Andrew Ellams
56 Posted 01/04/2015 at 11:32:27
One thing nobody can ever question McCarthy over is his effort. If only we could say the same of a few more this season.

Eugene Ruane
57 Posted 01/04/2015 at 10:32:54
Alex Jones (42) - " He’s a coward in my opinion, he only plays well if the team plays well."

Two things.

1) There are few things more insulting than being called a coward. Ability can be called into question without it leaving too much of a stain but a coward? Well okay, under the accepted TW get-out of "I’m entitled to me opinion, like" – fine. But let me add, I can think of few things more cowardly than someone sitting at a computer, casually accusing a player of cowardice, knowing you’ll never have to encounter him. A shit-house trick imo (see "I’m entitled..." etc).

2) Football is a team game, this idea that individual players can take the game ’by the scruff of the neck’ is 100% simplistic Sky bollocks. "He only plays well if the team plays well"? Tut! Well what a bastard eh!

He should of course be going on mazy runs and scoring hat-tricks while all the rest amble around not giving a fuck. He should be playing great while the rest of the team team play shite, so they can go "Ooo look, he’s playing well, maybe we should raise our game."

Teams take games by the scruff of the neck and any team that would expect one player to do it, deserve a (collective) kick up the hole.

You add "You need your central midfielders to be your leaders, to take control of a game when we’re not playing well and impose their will on it and bring the rest of the team up with them."

Umm... wouldn’t it be more pertinent (if we’re not playing well) to address the fact that we’re not playing well, rather than slagging one player?

Sorry but again, complete bollocks – where is the rule that says your (idle Belgian) winger is excused looking like he doesn’t give a fuck and playing shite, because his midfield didn’t ’impose their will’ on him?

If a player isn’t playing well, he should ask himself why? – he should be capable of raising his own game, not looking to others to improve his performance.

History shows that good/successful sides contain 11 players who all give a fuck. In 1985, Peter Reid was undoubtedly a ’leader’ and a winner etc, but he was in a strong side where everyone worked their plums off. (He could have screamed and cajoled and threatened all day long, but if the will/ability wasn’t there with the rest, he’d have got nowhere.)

We all know the lad has his limitations, but last season he showed that if they are all up for it, he is more than effective in his role.

For the record, I’ve only ever seen two players, single-handedly, take games by the scruff of the neck: Billy Dane (Scorcher) and Roy Race (Tiger).

Dave Lynch
58 Posted 01/04/2015 at 12:17:01

I seem to remember Alf Tupper playing the odd blinder as well.

Harold Matthews
59 Posted 01/04/2015 at 12:00:12
Yes Tony, I also suggested that Gibbo can dominate a game but I’m afraid you’re right. He can read the game and pick a clever pass but he doesn’t have the legs or ability to operate like Carrick, Matic or Ya Ya. All the same, it’s good to see him showing decent form after such a serious injury.
Dave Lynch
60 Posted 01/04/2015 at 12:29:00
Sack that Eugene.
I’ve just remembered he was a track star...
Mike Keating
61 Posted 01/04/2015 at 12:20:12
Agree with Brian @12. I had the misfortune to watch the entire game in the Pogue and it reminded me of watching Everton this season. No wonder the pub was empty by 9 PM.

I can’t believe O’Niell left it so late to bring on Shane Long and that Keane was even on the pitch.

Mike Keating
62 Posted 01/04/2015 at 12:31:06
Eugene, you seem to be forgetting the ability of a goalie to ’take a game by the scruff of the neck’ and I’m not talking Big Nev here but his role model; the scrap metal merchant from Bradstoke Town (worst team in the league), Bernard Briggs, who only ever let in one goal in a career spanning almost 30 years. Not just a great stopper, Bernard could bypass the entire outfield with a 100 yard throw that could pick out his centre forward every time. Unfortunately the CF was crap. Anyhow you better add him to your list of heroes.

’Bloomin’ Ada’

Max Wilson
63 Posted 01/04/2015 at 13:15:34
In a team game you are often only as good as those supporting you will let you be. We have seen this all season ourselves. McCarthy is a good player.
Andrew Ellams
64 Posted 01/04/2015 at 14:26:19
Mike, if you are going to talk keepers, none dominated a game better than Billy ’The Fish’ Thompson.
Mike Keating
65 Posted 01/04/2015 at 15:02:26
I hate to tell you this Andrew, but Billy the Fish wasn’t real!
Steve Ferns
66 Posted 01/04/2015 at 15:02:03
James McCarthy is without doubt one of our best players. Last season most of what was good was because of him. He’s an absolute key player.

I was not impressed when we signed him and even less so when I saw the price tag.

There was an excellent article on him on the Executioner’s Bong, a blog by a tactically astute Evertonian and coach. He highlighted all of McCarthy’s abilities better than I ever could and when I finally saw him play for us I could see exactly what EB meant.

McCarthy might not "do anything" and might rely on other players to play well. But this is because that is his position. If you don’t understand his position then you can’t understand him.

One of the greatest players I have ever seen is Juan Sebastian Veron. Most of the Man Utd fans I know think he was overrated or a terrible flop. That was because they never understood him, but you can forgive them, because their messiah Ferguson never did. Same with Gravesen.

Gravesen didn’t suddenly turn into a world beater for those 6 months when he single-handedly got us into the top 4 in half a season (45 points or so before he left and what 15-20 after he left?). It’s about understanding certain types of player.

Is James McCarthy going to beat 5 men and score a wonder goal? No. Is he going to bang one in from 40 yards? No. Is he going to hit a defense splitting pass, à la Gibson? Not often. This does not make him a bad player, it makes him a different player.

I’m not saying McCarthy is Veron, far from it, he can’t hit a 75-yard pass onto a pin head. I’m not saying he’s Gravesen with his sublime control and finesse. I’m just pointing out it’s easy for good players to look bad because other players do not allow their qualities to shine out.

What does McCarthy do well then? McCarthy is a guy who can drop deep into a back 4 and turn it into a back 5. He’s the one who should grab the ball off the back 4 and move it wide or move it to the number 10. McCarthy is the one who, when we play well, is often getting the ball and moving it fast. McCarthy’s best games came when he played last season with Osman, Pienaar, and Barkley. These 4 were able to do the kind of one-touch passing that destroys teams.

When he plays well, he moves the ball quickly and he does dictate the tempo. And it’s not playing a high tempo that beat teams last season. It’s doing that Barcelona thing of "slow, slow, slow, quick, quick, goal". McCarthy is someone who can do the reverse pass and find someone wide in space. Whereas Barry always seems to play the way he’s facing.

Barry has had a big impact on McCarthy’s form this season. Barry is not giving McCarthy the ball quick enough for McCarthy to have options, and often he is receiving the ball with no option but to play it to the back 4. But still, McCarthy rarely gives it away.

He’s also struggled with injuries this season, he’s seemed a yard off the pace at times and not really had a run of games to play himself back into form, and such is his key function for Martinez’s tactics that he plays on when injured and is rushed back before he’s fit.

Disappointing second season for McCarthy, as for many of our players, but he’s certainly still one of our best players. Still very young. Still highly rated. And I have no doubt he will be back on song before the season’s out, though; I have thought he’s played much better recently.

Hopefully next season we can bring in a top defensive midfielder along side him. Maybe Besic can learn some damn discipline and learn how to hold a position instead of charging around like a headless chicken kicking everyone and then booting the ball out of play. Maybe Barry can shake off his weary legs and rediscover some form and have one last decent season. Or maybe we can move Baines into the middle in a Lahm type situation as Martinez alluded to and pave the way for Garbutt to shine at left back.

Denis Richardson
67 Posted 01/04/2015 at 15:28:43
Steve, in your own post you state that Macca is supposed to pick up the ball and move it quickly put wide or forward.... precisely the things he has NOT been doing this season.

No-one is saying he not a good player, many however (including me) are saying that we’d expect more than just tackling and ’making the back four into a five’ for a 㾹M fee.

Whether it’s his or the manager’s fault is something we don’t know, admittedly.

Steve Ferns
68 Posted 01/04/2015 at 15:39:44
Denis, he is getting the back in a position whereby he cannot do anythig with it. McCarthy does not have the feet of Osman. He can’t take a bad pass and turn a man and then slot the pass wide. Instead he has to shield the ball and pass it backwards.

Forward passing is difficult. Everton have 5 midfielders very central and so as a result do the opposition. That’s 10 players packed in tightly and many criss-crossing ahead of him. It is therefore impossible for him to take the balls he’s been getting off Barry or either of the centre halves and then do something with it.

Watch the transitions. See how many touches Everton players are taking when they win the ball. Then the next pass is underhit and the next guy takes a load of touches too.

Last season, Barry was winning the ball and getting it to McCarthy, and then he would take one or two touches at the most and snap the ball hard into another player like Osman who need only one touch to snap it quickly himself.

The big difference this season is the midfield is too ponderous. There are too many touches, the passes are underhit, players are waiting for the ball instead of running on to it, and our play is just too slow. There is nothing wrong with sideways passing as this is devastating when it is done properly. In fact it’s pretty much essential against every team we play who harry us. We need to move that ball fast, one-touch passing and wrong-foot the whole midfield using short sideways passes and then get it wide into space for the fullbacks to charge into.

Andrew Ellams
69 Posted 01/04/2015 at 15:38:40
Denis, I believe it is something we do know. James McCarty has terrific energy and is a complete pain in the arse for opposition players in that middle third of the field. But the way we have played this season has meant he has dropped deeper and deeper, sometimes to the point that he has actually behind the back 4.

We have some potentially world class young players who have been criminally stifled by a clueless manager who believes passing the ball from side to side inside your own half is the best way to play football.

Steve Ferns
70 Posted 01/04/2015 at 15:56:28
I disagree, Andrew, the manager does not believe passing the ball from side to side inside your own half is the best way to play football. Yes, he believes in recycling possession. But he also believes in taking chances. For example, when Besic gave the ball away with practically his first ever touch in a blue shirt and it resulted in a goal, Martinez was fine with this. So he cannot be fine with this but want teams to play side to side.

Teams play side to side because that is what the players choose to do. They have the ball and they either cannot see a pass or lack confidence. I think it’s both. And yes, not seeing a pass does include them lacking ability.

Martinez does not drill Everton to get the back four to have the ball all the time. He wants the midfield to have it. And he wants those short fast passes. We have shown in flashes we can do it. Less this season than last. This is what the manager drills them to do.

What is happening on the pitch is down to confidence and ability.

Tony Abrahams
71 Posted 01/04/2015 at 15:55:30
If Gibson could ever play a full season, I’m sure he would become a much better player, Harold. I’d love him to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Out of all the words to him, I think ’coward’ least sums McCarthy up. I wouldn’t know for sure, but I’d bet money he’s the player the rest of the team appreciate most, so he couldn’t be a coward to me.

Eugene, Peter Reid, is still my favourite Everton player to this day. A winner in every sense, this man made the greatest Everton team I’ve ever seen, play. I only used to go to a few away games, because I played myself, but for two seasons, I never scored him less than 8 out of 10, in any game I watched. Some achievement that, but the only time I’ve ever scored an outfield player ten, Was Wayne Rooney against Bolton, he was unbelievable that day even though he couldn’t score.

Andy Crooks
72 Posted 01/04/2015 at 16:34:09
Mike #62, if I recall correctly, Bernard Briggs (the no goal goalie) led England to a World Cup final, conceding not a goal on the way, only to lose on the toss of a coin, a proper way to decide matches in my view.

Martinez could learn much from the training methods of Alf Tupper. Fish and chips wrapped up in the sports page before a race.

Also, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a goalie put through the net . Wally Brand (ball of fire) did it every week. We’ve got a bunch of overpaid softies these days.

Dave Abrahams
73 Posted 01/04/2015 at 17:15:39
Eugene. (57), Limp along Leslie ( Wizard ), ask Harold.!!!!
Patrick Murphy
74 Posted 01/04/2015 at 18:18:47
The first thing Roberto should do in training tomorrow is get all the squad wearing "Billy’s Boots" akin to those worn by the comic character from ’The Scorcher’! 24 points in 8 games would be assured and our goal difference would be super-charged.
Eugene Ruane
75 Posted 01/04/2015 at 18:15:59
Dave (73) - "Eugene. (57), Limp along Leslie (Wizard), ask Harold!!!!"

To be honest, I’m a little scared to ask Harold, I mean I’m guessing Limp along Leslie was a football character but..who knows.

"Leslie Crumthorpe was the star shagger of Barnton town and had shot his muck up half the girls in town. But after vasectomy goes wrong, he finds the necessary tumescence required to perform, impossible to achieve.

This week sees the toughest week of his career - it’s fresher’s week at Barnton University and the question on everyone’s lips is can our hero get in amongst all that bladdered student Jack and Danny and successfully perform a horizontal mambo, or will his slack, flaccid yogurt slinger let him down... again?"

Barry Jones
76 Posted 01/04/2015 at 19:08:02
I think the most apt choice of phrase that Dunphy used was that "McCarthy is overratedÂ’. I would have to agree. I think that the worst aspect of his game is his passing accuracy when he needs to hit a forward ball further than five yards. Stevie G, Carrick, he is not (or even Gibson). But, then again, all of MartinezÂ’s signings are overrated... by Martinez.
David Midgley
77 Posted 01/04/2015 at 19:03:56
Andy (#72),

Bouncing Bernard Briggs. Motorbike with a sidecar replaced by a bath so that he could collect scrap.

Eugene Ruane
78 Posted 01/04/2015 at 19:31:12
Barry (78) - "I think the most apt choice of phrase that Dunphy used was that McCarthy is ’overrated’. I would have to agree."

Well okay... fine, you’re of course free to agree, but imo ’overrated’ is an incredibly difficult thing to define.

I mean I would/could neither agree or disagree to be honest, but what I do know is that how he’s rated by others is really nothing to do with the player.

Plus Dunphy (being the noxious little twat he is) has a knack of making everything sound like a personal attack (slumps back in chair, slurs: "No John... no, look he’s overrated, vastly overrated, I’m telling you he is, without a shadow of a doubt, you know he is" etc waffle).

Looking at the media’s reaction (TV/press/radio) over the years, I always thought Gerrard and Bryan Robson were both very overrated (specially in the last five years of their careers) but both were still very, very good players.

Maybe overrated as a criticism is overrated.

Mike Keating
79 Posted 01/04/2015 at 19:57:05
Eugene (75) have you ever met ’Todger’ Crumthorpe? I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes when he tracks you down in the Winslow!
Jon Cox
80 Posted 01/04/2015 at 20:16:37
Great thread guys and I think Mr Mac is and will be in the team for years to come, a loved player for our great club.

My only question is, what’s happened to Alan Whittle, is he injured, is it a long term thing? Will he be back soon?

I haven’t seen him for ages.

Peter McHugh
81 Posted 01/04/2015 at 20:15:08
My gripe with McCarthy is that he has all the attributes to be a top player. I disagree with Eugene when he disagrees with someone offering the opinion that begs midfield players take the game by the scruff of the neck. The best players do control the game, be it combative players like Keane, Gerrard, Viera, Reid or more "cultured" players like Fabregas, Pirlo, Xavi, Alonso etc.

Clearly the best teams win trophies and leagues (EFC would have won nothing but for Southall, Ratcliffe, Sheedy, Stevens, Sharp etc) but frequently the catalyst is a midfield general and/or playmakers – despite being too young my understanding is that Reid / Gray were catalyst in 80s (I appreciate Gray left after title win).

Going back to McCarthy – the type of player he is – ie, not a "cultured player" in our team, eg, Baines, Coleman, Barkley, means he tends to be a general to be truly worth a place in our team IF (and a big massive if) granted we are to win trophies.

My view is that he could be and has ability to dictate games BUT doesn’t – I think that’s down to mental toughness rather than ability (or attitude); whether he can learn this, I don’t know but doubt and it’s frustating

Patrick Murphy
82 Posted 01/04/2015 at 20:29:30
Jon (#80), Unfortunately Alan has recently turned 65 and therefore will not be eligible for the U-21s tournament in the summer.
Eugene Ruane
83 Posted 01/04/2015 at 20:28:21
Mike (79) – "Eugene (75) have you ever met ’Todger’ Crumthorpe? I wouldn’t like to be in your shoes when he tracks you down in the Winslow!"

Ever met him? (Straightens tie, wipes shoes on back of kecks, slaps hair down.)

When the Grafton was open I WAS him!

Craig James
84 Posted 01/04/2015 at 20:41:50
Look, football is all about opinions, but let’s be clear about a few things: Dunphy is and will always be a drunken gobshite and without McCarthy our midfield is piss poor. This lad is quality and anyone who has played the game or studied our beloved sport will know that.

Some say he passes sidewards, doesn’t get forward, but that is because he is following the manager’s instructions. He breaks up play, does the simple things along with working his socks off for the team.

If he were to be put up for transfer, the top clubs in Europe would be clambering over each other to have him in their squad.

Enough said.

Alex Jones
85 Posted 01/04/2015 at 22:53:00
Eugene (#57):

I don’t have to meet him mano a mano to have my views on his ability as a footballer. To suggest I do is ludicrous. I don’t need to meet David Cameron to judge him on his abilities as a Prime Minister.

James McCarthy may well have the heart of a lion off the pitch and I would never comment on his private life. As a fan contributing to his wage packet, I do feel I can comment on how he plays on the pitch and, in my opinion, he plays with the opposite of bravery. Is that a better, less emotive description? Perhaps that would upset him less; frankly, I don’t care about his feelings one way or the other. He’s a poor footballer who doesn’t protect our defense very well and doesn’t contribute anything to our attack.

As shown by this thread, a lot of people trot out things like "He’s been brilliant in the last two years" and "Without him, we’d probably get relegated this season" but then singularly fail to point out anything he actually does well. Other than putting in effort of course, which seems to me praise that ends when you leave school.

The rest of your post seems remarkably contradictory. First you assert that it’s a team game and no individuals pull a team up with them, whilst following that up with players need to look at themselves for how they’re playing and not the team. Either McCarthy is responsible for his own performances or he’s not?

Then you go with the old classic of building a straw man just to tear it down with "he should of course be going on mazy runs and scoring hattricks". Who implied that? It certainly wasn’t me.

Individuals can most definitely win games on their own, they can inspire their team mates to perform at a higher level and do so frequently. Bale won many a game for Spurs on his own.

As simple a thing as a well-timed tackle can bring the best out of a team (see Phil Neville’s tackle on Ronaldo a few years back) and in more recent times, Gibson coming on against Leicester completely changed the way we were playing. His drive to get on the ball and move it forward rubbed off on everyone and the whole team started playing better and with more positivity.

Barkley had a similar effect for England against Italy with his positive no fear approach and it genuinely does rub off on other players in the team. If the performance of an individual had no effect on the rest of the team, why would you ever pick a captain?

I don’t expect McCarthy to dribble and score hat-tricks; I do expect him to be positive and to continuously try to do things that might lead to goals as, at the end of the day, that’s how you win games. He hides from doing this because it’s not easy to do and this is what makes him cowardly on the pitch. Continuously doing the easy thing out of fear of failure if you try something difficult is cowardly in any walk of life.

To hide behind "He’s a defensive mid, it’s not his role", as some have done on here, is the ultimate cop out. Is there anything more indicative of "Sky bollocks" than the role of the "defensive midfielder". I don’t believe there is any such thing as a defensive mid. There are just midfielders and they all should defend and tackle and they all should attack and contribute towards goals. Having one who only defends is a waste of a player.

And fundamentally, if he is only going to defend, he could at least do that well. He’s poor positionally, he never closes down the opposition midfielders when they shoot outside the box, he’s continually beaten out wide and consistently out jumped at corners. He puts our defenders under pressure with his rubbish pass-backs and causes them to panic and make mistakes. He makes the odd slide tackle, which fans love as it gives them some cathartic release from their frustration, but actually we concede plenty of goals when he’s playing and he’s at fault for a fair few.

Lee Gray
86 Posted 02/04/2015 at 00:23:55
We had Phil Neville there not so long ago... be careful what you wish for!
Patrick Murphy
87 Posted 02/04/2015 at 00:33:47
Alex, Sounds like we won’t be making a profit on his sale after all.

I understand what you mean but last season he covered every blade of grass and the other creative players in the team were creating and taking chances; but this season, the creative side has been terrible. Although McCarthy is still contributing the same as he did last season, suddenly he has come under the microscope.

Midfield is a key area in any team and it needs the right blend to make it work. Personally I don’t believe that Barry and McCarthy should play at the same time but Roberto disagrees.

I wouldn’t be surprised if McCarthy got fed up doing all the donkey work while others in the team carelessly gave the ball away time after time and that may be one of the reasons that Finch Farm hasn’t been as harmonious this season as it has been in the past it might also explain why his International team-mate Seamus hasn’t been at his best and has seemed pre-occupied.

If McCarthy doesn’t play in the last 8 games, who else in the team is going to do the fetching and carrying in midfield? I’d suggest there is nobody at the club who can do McCarthy’s job as effectively as he does it. There was a time when all eleven players in the Everton team felt the need to chase everything... but, under Martinez, that has changed and probably explains why we have had such a poor season.

Losing the ball is not a crime as long as the team works hard to win it back... but, if the whole team doesn’t work hard to win the ball back, then you have a recipe for failure which is what we have witnessed this season.

Eugene Ruane
88 Posted 02/04/2015 at 01:05:47
Alex (85) - " He makes the odd slide tackle, which fans love as it gives them some cathartic release from their frustration"

Cathartic release from THEIR frustration?

Oh right... because you’re all calm and analytical like?

Sorry but it doesn’t look that way, I mean those who see his contribution differently to you are informed – "I have to wonder what most of you McCarthy fan boys have been smoking? Have you ever watched him play? He’s a coward in my opinion"


"McCarthy just hides when the team is having a bad game and he always always takes the safe, cowardly option."

Yep, none of that sounds like unhinged, frustrated venting and/or ludicrous exaggeration.

Oh and the most desperate paragraph: "I don’t have to meet him mano a mano to have my views on his ability as a footballer. To suggest I do is ludicrous. I don’t need to meet David Cameron to judge him on his abilities as a prime minister."

Well a coincidence you should mention the moon-face toff as he’s one for the weasel words...too!.

You bravely call an Everton player a coward (nb: nothing factual to back this up, just your not-frustrated opinion) yet when you’re pulled up on it, you give it ’yeah but no but yeah but..’ and try to deflect using a truly piss-weak analogy

For the record, you can criticise ’abilities’ all you want, but I repeat, you call someone a coward and it’s not their ability you impugn, it’s their character (and that’s fine with me too IF you’re brave enough to do it face to face).

There’s not one word of my response to your initial post that I feel the need to change.

James Flynn
89 Posted 02/04/2015 at 01:29:23
Alex - Enjoyed the reading so far and anticipate enjoying more. But you called him a coward; which he isn’t.

Some of the other things you pointed out have value; but coward? Eugene is right in calling you on that. Would you walk up to young James, face to face, and state, "YOU COWARD!" You wouldn’t. Not cause your a pussy, but because he’s not a .... coward. So, you wouldn’t call him one; face to face like.

C’mon, acknowledge you were over the top with the ’coward’ thing. Unless you meant it. In which case... you’re a pussy!!

Everyone wins on a discussion board.

ps: I have no problem with your general view of our Mac. You’re not alone in saying some things about him. James is 6 years under the same manager. What we’ve seen is what we’re going to get; a hard-charging, committed Evertonian who does what the gaffer says do.

Seems McCarthy has more to offer than that, but he does what he’s told.

Hey, perhaps Roberto is the coward!

Anthony Lamb
90 Posted 02/04/2015 at 01:33:19
I do have to say that, while respecting people having the right to their opinions, I am speechless when people speak of Gibson in the same breath as players such as Pirlo and Alonso etc. Have we lost all sense of perspective?

Gibson never has, nor ever will be, involved in games at the level these players have been involved in and in which they have excelled. We are talking of the highest level of performance at club and international level on the very biggest of stages.

In fact, to use phrases such as "taking the game by the scruff of the neck" and changing it, dominating it etc is applicable to very few players and usually only the very best. Gibson? In the name of heaven let us keep this real, this guy has barely been able to play regularly or consistently at Everton, never mind dominate Champions League finals or World Cup tournaments. Perspective has truly gone out of the window!

Alex Jones
91 Posted 02/04/2015 at 01:47:30
James McCarthy conducts his career in public and like any public figure can be criticised as heavily as members of the public see fit. I don’t comment on any part of his life outside of how he is on the pitch.

I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable about what I said and if I were given the opportunity to comment on his style of play directly to him I’d say no different. It’s part of being in the public eye and making your living off members off the public.

I didn’t bravely say it, I just said it, and backed it up with why I think it’s true. There’s nothing unhinged about it and I certainly didn’t try and back out of it.

I think certain fans like certain players as they do offer them a cathartic sense of relief. Poor players like Carsley and McCarthy are loved because fans feel they care as much as they do and therefore they relate to them more. They feel like they play with the passion they themselves would play with.

I have never liked these types of players and I don’t want them to be like me. Quite the opposite in fact, I want to see things that surprise me. I like football for dazzling bits of skill or audacious passes, or even just one touch passing moves that look simple but are actually incredibly difficult to pull off.

I don’t care about players putting in 100% effort, or playing for the badge or any of that crap. To me that’s all boring stuff I could see down the local park on a Sunday. I want flair and skill and McCarthy has none.

And Eugene, I’m not sure I have come across someone who can write so much and say so little. What exactly is your opinion on McCarthy?

Patrick Murphy
92 Posted 02/04/2015 at 02:21:00
Alex, I think you may have picked the wrong club to support and watch as over the years we haven’t had many players who would take our breath away on a regular basis. In fact, most of Everton’s success in the last 3 or 4 decades has been built on 100% commitment and playing as a team.

We have had some very good technicians like Beardsley and Kanchelskis who were relatively consistent and hard grafters, but the other ’flair’ players have often been frustrating rather than breathtaking and often flattered to deceive.

I agree that football at its best is when a moment of magic happens on the pitch that you may not witness in a game between two pub teams. We had a few of those moments last season and not so many this term. But one of the reasons many of us go to the game is because we might just see one of those rare moments of ability or flair, but any team would be hard-pressed to regularly produce those moments without the hard graft which is a prerequisite for any successful team, more so in the wars of attrition that make up the modern Premier League.

Eugene Ruane
93 Posted 02/04/2015 at 03:08:34
Alex, If ever I was in any doubt as to what I believe is your complete lack of understanding of the game of football, it is the following...

"I think certain fans like certain players as they do offer them a cathartic sense of relief (sigh – again with the cathartic sense of relief). Poor players like Carsley and McCarthy are loved because fans feel they care as much as they do and therefore they relate to them more. They feel like they play with the passion they themselves would play with. I have never liked these types of players and I don’t want them to be like me. Quite the opposite in fact, I want to see things that surprise me. I like football for dazzling bits of skill or audacious passes, or even just one touch passing moves that look simple but are actually incredibly difficult to pull off."

Sorry but this reads like it was written by a 10-year-old who has known only Sky. It says (to me) "I don’t get the idea of team, I don’t understand spade-work, I want a team of ball jugglers>"

It’s funny that you see Carsley as ’poor’, particularly as, even years after he left, many Evertonians still talk of ’The Carsley role’. (Do you think that’s because he was shit at it?)

Oh sure, he didn’t manage many keepie-uppies or overhead flying scissor-kicks and there certainly wasn’t much dazzle or audaciousness on show while he was quietly, efficiently and consistently breaking up attacks and giving the ball to those who could pass it better, but you can’t have everything.

You ask "Eugene, I’m not sure I have come across someone who can write so much and say so little. What exactly is your opinion on McCarthy?"

Maybe if you devoted more time to reading posts and less time insulting Everton players you’d know exactly what I thought of McCarthy – my initial response (#57) to your ’he’s a coward’ post, contains the following: "We all know the lad has his limitations, but last season he showed that if they are all up for it, he is more than effective in his role."

If there’s something unclear about that, please let me know (maybe you were confused by a non-cathartic, simple, insult-free analysis?)

Derek Thomas
94 Posted 02/04/2015 at 03:26:20
McCarthy is what he is, He’s a modern day thinner Sammy Lee, who gets the ball and is supposed to give it to someone who CAN pick the killer pass (Souness). It’s not his fault we have nobody to do that.

The odd time we do get Gibson and / or Osman on the field (who, much as it pains me to say it, might, only might, be as good as Souness if you put them together) who can put some sort of half decent pass together — said pass hasn’t got to be all that hot to look miles better than the usual dross.

Patrick @ 87 "There was a time when all 11 players in the Everton Team felt the need to chase everything" ... Too ’kin right. I would see that, agree and raise you with... "There is NEVER a time when all 11 players in ANY Everton Team SHOULDN’T chase everything."

That’s ’Everybody’ — not just the would-be workhorses but... and especially these... the Fancy Dans as well. "Good luck with that," some would say. But that’s what good and great players and good and great teams do. The really good verging on great teams have players that can do both of course.

I remember that, when required, both Law and Charlton would get on each post for corners. Alex Young covering both RB and LB in the same game, making tackles, winning the ball by his own corner flag and setting off down the wing.

Who was it... vs Bayern, when we went down 0-1 to the away goal, chasing back into his own net in a despairing attempt to keep it out?... Kevin Sheedy, hardly the epitome of workhorse was he?... or was he??

Phil Sammon
95 Posted 02/04/2015 at 05:51:20
Alex Jones (#91),

"James McCarthy conducts his career in public and like any public figure can be criticised as heavily as members of the public see fit."

Hang on... when did James McCarthy become Kim Kardashian? He hardly courts the limelight, does he?

Tony Abrahams
96 Posted 02/04/2015 at 07:52:40
James McCarthy is, for me, the one Everton player who always shows for the ball, to help out a team mate who is under pressure, anywhere on the pitch, even when he is closely marked himself. This is just as brave as going into a strong challenge.

Watch football closely and you see loads of players who are prepared to tackle, watch it closer and tell me how many players are willing to have the ball, to help out their mate, when they are closely marked themselves?

People have different views about bravery on the pitch, and whilst Alex might have a point about McCarthy not being brave enough in possession, looking to go forward, I would still say he’s the bravest player in our team!

Phil Bellis
97 Posted 02/04/2015 at 10:09:32
As some examples of players who could dictate a game and "scruff of the neck" it, I’ve seen Tony Kay, Alan Ball, Maradonna and Ferenc Bene do it.

I’ve also seen and appreciated the work done by the likes of Dennis Stevens, the unsung water-carrier of the 62-63 team. Note the word ’team’; Brian Labone would often sarcastically tell you that Everton 69-70 were "the only 3-man team to win the League".

Eugene Ruane
98 Posted 02/04/2015 at 11:14:05
Phil (97) - Well I’ve certainly seen Bally and Maradonna heavily influence a game (and those around them) and don’t doubt Tony Kay or Bene could have a similar effect.

The problem is, if they were around now, we wouldn’t get near them. Those players were the very best and these days, their transfer fees would range from 㿞M - 𧴜M and they’d be getting 𧷤k a week (or whatever) from Man City, Chelsea, Barcelona or Real Madrid.

We’re a club ’run’ by bums and (consequently) what we can afford is... well, it’s not Alan Ball, it’s James McCarthy.

Sure Ball was many times the player McCarthy is, but one thing that can be said of both is that neither were/are cowards.

Phil Bellis
99 Posted 02/04/2015 at 11:49:21
Too true, Eugene.

I live in regressing hope, though, that we can put together a team and manager that will, at least, compete and show ambition – a collective greater than the sum of its parts.

However, when the height of your chairman’s ambition is staying in the Premier League, a vision seemingly shared by many post-Sky supporters, we may well be stuffed before we start...

Andrew Ellams
100 Posted 02/04/2015 at 12:11:17
Alex, how many top class teams can you name that don’t have a McCarthy type player in it? And I’m not talking about ability here, I mean a workhorse who does all the crap and not the fancy FIFA 15 stuff.
James Marshall
101 Posted 02/04/2015 at 13:50:37
The thing is, if he’s only played one game in a year for Ireland, then how can anyone criticise his form if he doesn’t have any form to look back on?

I like Macca. He’s not world beater but he’s no panel beater either.

File under bollocks.

Sam Hoare
103 Posted 02/04/2015 at 13:58:08
He’s a good defensive midfielder but there’s a reason he cost 㾹M and Yaya Toure cost 㿄M. He does not have the all-round game of the top players in his position.

He’s very good at covering ground, tracking runs and breaking up play but he does not offer a huge amount creatively and that’s why he should probably be played with someone who can thread balls through and score the odd goal. Gibson could be that player if he can stay fit.

Jimmy Kelly
104 Posted 02/04/2015 at 15:16:46
Eugene, personally I think resorting to the ’you don’t understand football’ argument is a rather cowardly and unnecessary stance in itself.

It seems that your recent comments all need to mention your hatred of Sky and the fans who’ve grown up in that era, but it seems that you don’t actually recognise what Sky promote.

As Alex pointed out, the idea of a defensive midfielder is the type of reimagining of football that Sky excel in. They can’t accept that there might be some pretty average midfielders playing in the Premier League, so they redefine the role to justify why a player doesn’t look particularly good. Rather than the Sky generation expecting players to score wonderful solo goals or bang in hat-tricks every week, they’ve actually been brought up being told that turgid 0-0 draws between bog standard teams are ’incredible’, ’dramatic’ and ’remarkable’. They’ve been told that players like John Terry and Jamie Carragher are phenomenal because they, well, do their job I suppose.

With regard to McCarthy, I think he’s a decent player, but I agree with Dunphy (who I agree is a complete tool) when he says that he doesn’t change the tempo of the game enough. When I talk about a player ’dominating’ a game, I don’t mean he scored 5 or kept nutmegging people, I mean he dictated how the game was played. Obviously the very best players do this regularly, but you don’t have to be a world beater to do it. Arteta could do it when he played centrally, Carrick does it (a perfect example of this was on Tuesday when he replaced Jones and changed the flow of the game). When we played Chelsea away Matic completely dominated the middle of the pitch. He didn’t do anything remotely spectacular but he kept breaking down our attacks and setting up theirs, making it very difficult for us to get a foothold in the game. This is what I’d like to see more of from McCarthy, as I do think it’s in there somewhere.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
105 Posted 02/04/2015 at 16:10:55
Jimmy, I know it’s certainly not clear from Eugene’s post, but I suspect/hope he is using the ridiculously pathetic ’you don’t understand football’ insult with a rich slice of irony... brought on by angst at the equally ridiculous use of the label ’coward’ originally by Alex Jones. As if Dunphy’s scathing critique wasn’t enough, that certainly added unnecessary fuel to the fire.

Once again, can we please try to limit the personally insulting stuff (that includes calling the manager and players derogatory names in lieu of reasoned critique) in the hope of maintaining some civility on these threads.


Jimmy Kelly
106 Posted 02/04/2015 at 16:25:09
Michael, fair enough.

Apologies if I was a bit slow on the uptake Eugene.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
107 Posted 02/04/2015 at 16:27:22
Cheers, Jimmy. I forgot to add, I thought you made some good points in your post.

There is something of an anti-Sky undercurrent on here... not sure if it’s age-related — I know I have a visceral reaction to most of their incredibly inane reporting/interview style.

On the other hand, it could be argued that the worldwide access to Premier League coverage many of us now rely on might not be there without them!

Dave Abrahams
108 Posted 02/04/2015 at 17:13:10
Michael I seem to have a problem with logging on, for the last week every time I leave ToffeeWeb even for a very short period I have to log on again, previously I was logged on for thirty days, am I doing something wrong, can’t understand it.
Patrick Murphy
111 Posted 02/04/2015 at 19:28:29

Sometimes if I choose to clear recent history, then all my logging on details have to be re-submitted but personally I haven’t had any trouble in recent months. It also depends on whether you are using your own PC or somebody else’s machine.

Tony Hill
112 Posted 02/04/2015 at 19:54:28
Jimmy (104) - that sort of breaking up of play and setting up of our own attacks was something McCarthy managed a lot last season when he was regarded by most Blues as a major success. This season he has been less impressive but it seems to me to be a strange analysis (not by you) to suggest that this player is at best an above-average plodder who will not improve his game.

As for the definition of a defensive midfielder, I think you have just provided it and given examples. It is a category which I have always thought was fairly clear and which owed nothing to Sky.

Dave Abrahams
113 Posted 02/04/2015 at 20:39:48
Patrick (111), thanks for the tip; it’s my own iPad; my great grandson messed with it the other week and cocked it up, my older grandson has just had a go at what you said so it might be okay from now on. Thanks again.
Jimmy Kelly
114 Posted 02/04/2015 at 20:37:21
Tony, I understand what you mean about last season but I said the same then – I want to see more from him. What I see from McCarthy is him winning the ball and giving a simple pass to somebody else who then starts the attack. That’s fine, I’m not knocking it.

What I saw from Matic was him starting the attacks himself. Carrying the ball forward into our territory or playing forward, probing passes. To me, that it is an important difference.

With regard to my comment on defensive midfielders, I note that Eugene (who clearly isn’t of the Sky generation) mentioned Evertonians using the term ’the Carsley role’. If I discuss that type of position with non-Evertonians they will invariably refer to ’the Makelele role’. I wonder, if it’s been such an obvious position for so long, why the roles are defined by players from the Sky era?

Apologies again to Eugene, this time for the age reference. I have no idea how old you are, I’m just going off your comments on Sky!

Darren Hind
115 Posted 02/04/2015 at 19:27:22
"Cowardly" wasn’t the best way to describe Macca, but Alex most definitely has a point.

Courage on a footy pitch doesn’t have to be of the run-through-a-brick-wall variety. The bravest thing anyone can do on a pitch is to take responsibility.

Leon Osman isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. He’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to know that every time he is caught in possession or is brushed aside, his detractors will rain down their abuse from the stands... but still he risks it, he is always searching for the better option. He’s incredibly brave. So, to a lesser extent, is Pienaar.

I wouldn’t dare call McCarthy a coward; he looks like a hard man to me. He’d certainly run through a brick wall for the team... but does he have the sort of courage to take responsibility? The courage to pick the ball up when we desperately need a goal and drive straight at the heart of opposition? Will he say "Fuck this" and break ranks whenever Martinez’s painfully careful approach shows no sign of breaking down stubborn resistance?

Macca certainly has the courage to resist enemy attacks, but does he have the courage to take the game to them, come out of his trench and force them to retreat? I’ve seen nothing to suggest he has...

Tony Hill
116 Posted 02/04/2015 at 21:00:08
I think that’s fair comment about McCarthy, Jimmy, but I’m confident he can push on. Nobby Stiles and Marco Tardelli are two midfielders of this type from earlier eras who come to mind.
Jimmy Kelly
117 Posted 02/04/2015 at 21:13:52
I definitely think he can, Tony. I’ve seen glimpses of it but I just want him to really step up. He’s at the age now where he should really be at the top of his game.

Obviously I am of the Sky generation myself, so I’m not suggesting that there have never been defensive midfielders before because I wouldn’t know. I do think the idea that every player who doesn’t contribute a lot going forward is automatically a ’defensive midfielder’ is a new concept though.

If you look at someone like Sandro for example, he can’t defend to save his life but, because he doesn’t score a lot, he’s categorised as defensive. In the past, he would have just been a midfielder.

Tony Abrahams
118 Posted 02/04/2015 at 21:07:32
Think the best pass I’ve seen at Goodison this season was made by McCarthy against Leicester, Darren. It was a 3-yard reverse pass and I think it was Lukaku who should have done better.

Maybe James, is limited? I don’t think he is myself. But until we change our formation and personnel in midfield, it’s quite possible we will never find out.

Michael Winstanley
119 Posted 02/04/2015 at 21:49:37
We look a better team when he plays.
Harold Matthews
120 Posted 02/04/2015 at 23:52:12
Dave. Vaguely remember Limpalong Leslie. A limping shepherd with a champion sheepdog who also limped. More your era than mine but I think he might have got to a Cup Final.
Andy Crooks
121 Posted 03/04/2015 at 00:43:39
Harold, I think the goalie in that team was Tubby Johnson. He was, well, a bit overweight, he wore a cap, like a sort of cloth grandad cap, and he was actually a fucking good goalkeeper despite the weight issue...

In those days, it didn’t matter about fitness and diet; they were real players. I think, though my memory might be playing tricks, that Tubby’s brother had a pie stand that Tubby helped out with at half-time. In those days, they knew a bit more about generating income.

Harold Matthews
122 Posted 03/04/2015 at 01:42:53
Ha! Good one A,ndy.
John Williams
123 Posted 03/04/2015 at 05:59:32
I’ve not been on TW for a week or so and find two interesting threads regarding McCarthy and Barkley. Another poster earlier mentioned Kevin Sheedy; I can distinctly recall watching Everton in the 80s, the moans and groans from the stands for Sheeds to put his foot in, but he rarely did. He just wasn’t that type a player and similar to Barkley it seems. That team had balance and we all know where that took us! Its all about balance, a team with ball winners and playmakers.

While Barkley has bags of potential to be top class, McCarthy is a run-of-the-mill grafter and very average to say the least. He is the epitomy of the Martinez boring drab "possession at all costs" football philosophy. Sideways, backwards, "I don’t want the ball" type of player. Not once this season has he won midfield battles, taken the game to opponents, or given the team impetus. But many Evertonians love him and a certain Naismith because of their industry and effort.

Until the club changes its mindset, we will only be a mid-table team at best while endearing ourselves to the likes of these two plodders.

Dave Abrahams
124 Posted 03/04/2015 at 10:26:09
Andy (#121), there was a real life goalie who played for Sheffield Utd and England, name of Foulkes. I can’t think of his first name, he weighed about 18-20 stone and I think his nick name was Tubby,
Eugene Ruane
125 Posted 03/04/2015 at 10:51:48
Dave (#124),

I think he was at Chelsea too, and was known sympathetically as ’Fatty Foulkes’.

James Marshall
126 Posted 03/04/2015 at 11:42:31
Bill Foulkes also played first class cricket for Derbyshire, and is the very person the ’who ate all the pies’ chant comes from.
Paul Burns
127 Posted 03/04/2015 at 13:04:48
Peter Reid really knew how to take a game by the scruff of the neck, sometimes literally.

On the subject of putting goalies through nets, there was an African called Jimi who did it with headers in the Victor, usually from crosses from a Scottish winger called, I think, wee Willie. He learnt this, apparently, by heading coconuts back in his homeland and could also break corner flags and stand roofs as well as knocking out the odd linesman.

Andy Crooks
128 Posted 03/04/2015 at 13:33:57
Paul, Jimi’s goals were stopped for a while when an opponent got spring-heeled boots. However, the FA, quite rightly in my view, outlawed them.

There was another player, whose name escapes me, who played for Everpool. It was in Score or Scorcher. It always pleased me that he didn’t play for Liverton. I always tried to get my hair in the same style as his.

Paul Burns
129 Posted 03/04/2015 at 13:50:13
I think they were invented by a linesman Andy. I vaguely remember it.

Lukaku could do with a set, are they still banned?

Andy Crooks
130 Posted 03/04/2015 at 18:05:10
I believe they are, Paul. If Lukaku got a pair he would, potentially, be a world class player. Do you recall "Raven on the wing"? He was a gypsy, sorry traveller, who could cross the ball like fuck. I’d take him ahead of Del any time.
Dave Abrahams
131 Posted 03/04/2015 at 18:17:27
Eugene (125) yes, Fatty Foulkes, that was his name.
Andy Crooks
132 Posted 04/04/2015 at 00:38:20
Paul, the springheeled boots were indeed invented by a linesman. He was, in fact, related to the recipient of them. There was no suggestion at the time of skulduggery. In my view, the linesman was was just totally fucked off at the huge advantage JimiÂ’s height gave him.

If you recall, though, the linesman had a thin pencil mustache and was foreign.

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