Martinez not impressed by 'harsh' Irish criticism of McCarthy
EVERTON manager Roberto Martinez has defended the character of James McCarthy and expressed amazement at the criticism his star midfielder has received in Ireland.
The 24-year-old's commitment to international football was questioned by Liam Brady ahead of Sunday's 1-1 draw with Poland and, after the game, the player was branded as a 'terrible flop' by Eamon Dunphy.
Martinez, the only manager that McCarthy (above) has worked under in England, believes that the comments were extremely unfair and feels that disappointing Irish results have led to a search for a scapegoat.
"It is disappointing because in world football you will not find a more committed and a better character to have in any dressing room than James McCarthy," said the Spaniard.
"They are quite harsh comments. I have been working with James for many years and we have all seen the impact that he is having here at Everton.
"Sometimes you can see those comments as being a bit distracting from the reality of having bad results with their team.
"It is a shame when you have such fantastic individuals and it is all about trying to get the best out of those playing at international level."
Martinez added that he found the criticism especially strange given that McCarthy made a big commitment to turn down his native Scotland and declare to wear the green jersey.
"For me he is an incredible asset to have in any team," he said. "James McCarthy chose to represent the Republic of Ireland and that shows you that he has a strong desire to play for a nation that I think has got tremendous potential."
"I can't really comment from my position to see what is wrong. What I see is at the young age of 24, James McCarthy has got such incredible experience and he is a massive asset for us."
Jamie Carragher said on a recent visit to Dublin that Martinez had told him that McCarthy was the one player in his squad that he could not do without, a point that the Toffees boss effectively repeated.
"He is a reliable footballer for us and we are not the same team when he is not on the pitch," he said. "I know that he is going to keep growing and keep developing.
"What is going to happen at international level is a bit out of my hands and I can't really comment."