Wigan's pass master James McCarthy giving little away about club future
THE people around James McCarthy realised a long time ago that he was going to be a serious footballer and they advised him accordingly.
Ireland's great midfield hope is a wise head on young shoulders anyway, but he's certainly taken heed of their recommendations when it comes to dealing with the media.
He gives very little away, in keeping with his approach to possession. So when discussion this week inevitably turned to his own future, the 22-year-old said all the right things about his situation at Wigan.
Latics manager Roberto Martinez has stated with confidence that McCarthy will play for a Champions League club one day but, for now, he is settling into the annual relegation battle with his employers.
Therefore, he is not going to fall into the trap of making bold statements about his own future, even when asked directly if he would simply have to leave Wigan if they failed to preserve their top-flight status.
"I can't really comment on that as obviously I don't know," he replies. "It just depends what will happen. It's down to the club, to someone else. I'm happy at the club and I'm positive we won't go down."
He admits that the transfer speculation is flattering – Everton, Arsenal and Liverpool have been mentioned – and acknowledges that it's not ideal to be facing another fight against the drop. Still, he is keen to accentuate the positives.
"I'm happy to see my name linked with clubs," he says. "That means I'm doing something right. It's another window that has come and gone with a bit of speculation. I am still a Wigan player. I will keep playing for Wigan until the end of the season.
"I will keep working hard and see what the end of the season brings."
In the end, the big disappointment of the window for McCarthy was that Aiden McGeady's planned move to Wigan collapsed.
"I think it was just about a done deal," said McCarthy. "But something fell through in the last minute. I'm gutted as he would have been a massive player for us."
McCarthy kicked this week off on a positive note by collecting the Young International Player of the Year award for 2012. It was a year that started with him on the periphery, before his father's illness forced his absence from the European Championships. He subsequently broke into Trapattoni's starting XI.
"It's a big award," he said. "It's good to be involved in the squad and starting to get a run of games is good. You have to bide your time and that can be frustrating.
"The boss gave me a chance and thankfully I took it and managed to get a run of games. But I won't get carried away."
There's little danger of that.