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Martinez: McCarthy is in great condition

MARTIN O'Neill can return to a state of cautious optimism where James McCarthy is concerned after the Everton and Ireland midfielder's latest injury scare turned out to be a false alarm.

McCarthy (pictured) managed just 70 minutes action in Everton's 4-1 win over Young Boys of Berne and initial reports suggested another injury blow for a player dogged by trouble for six months.

But it now seems that he was taken off because of Martinez's fear that the artificial surface being used could trigger further problems. Martinez is happy that he came through the game without any ill-effects.

"It was just a thought about the surface. He's in great condition," said the Everton boss.

In the lead-up to Everton's round of 32 first-leg in Switzerland, McCarthy expressed confidence that he had turned a corner from long term injury difficulties.

But, clearly, Martinez is still keen to take every opportunity to ease pressure on his key midfielder to avoid a recurrence of the dogged hamstring problems which have plagued him all season.