Sunday 18 February 2018

Everton midfielder ready to kick on and enjoy first major tournament after injury concern

James McCarthy feels ready to kick on next week after struggling with injury. Photo by Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile
James McCarthy feels ready to kick on next week after struggling with injury. Photo by Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

James McCarthy is ready to silence his doubters at Euro 2016 after a worrying period where he felt he was in danger of missing the tournament.

The 25-year-old is still taking a careful approach to training after stepping up his recovery from groin and hamstring problems across the week's training camp in Cork which ended yesterday.

McCarthy feels ready to kick on next week and enjoy the fruits of a campaign where he believes he really settled into the Ireland side.

"There's always people doubting you and having a go at you, but a lot of people have said to me since Poland that I've kicked on," he said.

"I'm just delighted to be part of this squad. We've got a great bunch of lads here and hopefully on a personal level I can kick on again and give it my best shot."

McCarthy felt pain in Everton's concluding game of the Premier League season and concern grew when he went for a run the following week and it was troubling him.

"Obviously all sorts of things go through your head," he said.

"You're worrying about the tournament, obviously the first game, training towards the first game. You want to be fit. I don't want to miss training, I want to work hard before this tournament and have a right go.

"It's been very frustrating sitting about and nice to be out there and getting a bit of a sweat on to be honest.

"I spoke to the doc here and the manager and he rested me up and I was doing wee bits here and there and could still feel it.

"But as I said, the last couple of days it's started to clear up and hopefully that's me back to getting fit and being involved with the team."

McCarthy missed out on the European Championships four years ago due to a family illness and has heard from colleagues about just how eye-opening an experience it will be.

"I'm buzzing to be honest. Each and every one of us within the squad knows how much it means to us, our family, friends, the fans, everyone involved. It's massive," he continued.

"I watched the World Cup in 2002, it was unbelievable.

"My granddad was Irish and he always came along to the house and put the games on and it was some feeling watching that.

"You dream of things like this and each and every one of us is really excited about it."

Jonathan Walters sat out training in Fota yesterday and instead went to the gym to continue working on his calf problem.

Robbie Keane went cycling around the outside of the pitch in an attempt to strengthen his muscles.

Irish Independent

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