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martinez: Mccarthy staying

EVERTON boss Roberto Martinez has warned off Premier League rivals who are interested in James McCarthy by insisting that the player's future is at Goodison Park.

McCarthy raised eyebrows when he was quoted last month as saying that he was "flattered" by reported interest from Manchester United and Tottenham, McCarthy reportedly adding: "If a club like Manchester United are interested, obviously you are doing a good job".

Even though the 23-year-old remains under contract that has sparked debate about a potential move to Old Trafford, but Martinez has made it clear that the Irishman is not up for grabs.

"For me, James McCarthy is one of the best midfielders in the league," said the Toffees boss.

"I don't get surprised if other teams send good footballing compliments. But in terms of his future, it's clearly with Everton, and it's an exciting one.

"I think we've got very good midfielders at the club. You saw last season that James had a really good partnership with Gareth Barry.

"When James and Darron Gibson played together with Republic of Ireland, they showed great understanding, and linked up with each other very well. It's an exciting part of the pitch, really, that midfield area."

Only last week, Martinez confirmed that McCarthy was in line for an improved contract.

"James's contract is already performance related so the longer that he plays he gets a bigger reward," Martinez said.