Thursday 19 April 2018

James McCarthy has no regrets about choosing Ireland over Scotland

Ireland midfielder James McCarthy looks to drift past Scotland's James Morrison. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Ireland midfielder James McCarthy looks to drift past Scotland's James Morrison. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Irish supporters and indeed the management team are still waiting to see the best of James McCarthy in a green jersey but the midfielder remains fully committed to his adopted country.

The Glasgow-born 24-year-old was roundly booed by Scottish fans in Saturday's 1-1 draw that leaves Martin O'Neill's side needing a minor miracle to qualify for Euro 2016 but McCarthy doesn't have any regrets about opting to play for Ireland instead of his country of birth.

"I'm representing Ireland and I'm delighted to pull the jersey on," a disappointed McCarthy admitted after the stalemate.

"It wasn't any different from previous internationals. I wanted to get three points on the board.

"A lot of people built this game up as a big game but I think each and every game when you come away with your country, you want to do well and rack as many points up.

"We'll come back in September and look forward to trying to get six points on the board."

The Everton player has been strongly linked with a move away from Goodison Park with Arsenal amongst the clubs understood to be interested and the recent signing of Tom Cleverly may have opened the door for a summer move.

McCarthy was lucky to escape a red card for a dangerous elbow on Russell Martin that left the defender with a bloodied nose but the Irish player was quick to protest his innocence.

"It's part and parcel of football. I went for the ball and obviously the boy had a cut but I didn't know anything about it," he insisted.

"It's part and parcel of football, sometimes you get things for you, sometimes you don't."

Ireland lost their way after half-time and were punished for their lapse in concentration with Shaun Maloney again the chief tormentor.

It was his deflected shot that rescued a point for Scotland but McCarthy was adamant that Ireland should have gone on to claim what would have been a crucial three points.

"I think we deserved it. For most of the game, we were in control," he said.

"We should have seen out the early pressure in the second half and obviously it's a poor goal.

"It's a freak goal to be honest. It's two deflections, there wasn't any pace on it. It's a poor goal to lose.

"But obviously we come back in September and try and get six points on the board and put the other teams under pressure.

"There are going to be more twists and turns to come, there is still a long way to go," he added.

McCarthy may have a new club by the time Ireland play Gibraltar on September 4 which would signify another step up in his career but on the international front, he has still yet to really prove himself.

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