It is fitting that James McCarthy returns to Goodison Park today after crossing a statistical landmark which highlights the scale of his recovery at Crystal Palace.
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When the Irish midfielder made it through the halfway point of last weekend's game with Sheffield United, his tally of Premier League minutes this campaign was greater than his total in his final three seasons with Everton.
That's good news for the Glaswegian and it really should be good news for Ireland with March's play-off against Slovakia in mind.
The jury remains out on whether Mick McCarthy will find room for the midfielder in his plans.
He did give the 29-year-old a mention in a recent FAI scouting report in the context of his performance in a game with Southampton.
The manager has consistently repeated that he's been in touch with Shane Long, who was out of favour for the business end of the Euro 2020 campaign, and he will be pressed on his visit to Dublin next week about any further contact with McCarthy.
There shouldn't be any real drama here, yet it was clear that that the Irish boss wasn't especially enamoured when the player opted against coming into camps in the autumn while he was trying to establish himself at Crystal Palace.
An outing against New Zealand was on the cards but "personal reasons" prevented the midfielder from taking it up.
In his defence, a willingness to come in and report for Irish duty actually caused him a few problems at Everton during that period where Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane seemed to be constantly niggling away at the Toffees' staff.
After a luckless run that genuinely placed questions over his longevity, it's understandable that a performer who got a lot of miles on the clock in his youth should seek to get club business back on track as a starting point.
"Once I'm back playing regularly, I'll look to try and get back in [the Irish] squad," he told Off The Ball in November.
Following an unbroken run of games, it now looks as though he's back in the groove to the extent where he has to be a serious Irish candidate.
Former Crystal Palace and Ireland defender Damien Delaney keeps a close eye on his old club and was always confident that the transfer to London would have a positive outcome.
"I think he fits into what Roy Hodgson wants from his midfield players," he says. "He looks fit, he's getting around the pitch, he's snapping into tackles like he always used to. He fits the profile of what Mick McCarthy is going for."
McCarthy has been off the Irish scene since 2016, the year where some of his better performances slipped under the radar.
When O'Neill mixed things up midway through the Euros, he dropped Glenn Whelan and used McCarthy as a defensive shield as support for the excellent Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady.
As the saying goes, his best work went unseen. With Palace, it's been similar. He won praise for his performance in certain fixtures, including a combative showing in the draw with Arsenal last month where he completed nine tackles, more than double what any other participant in the match could manage.
A suspension for Luka Milivojevic, Hodgson's preferred defensive midfielder, allowed McCarthy to assume more responsibility in that department.
But even when the Serb was out, he was deployed in a role that challenged him to cover ground rather than sitting centrally and protecting the defence. This can be effective against a better class of opponent, yet he's struggled to make an impact going forward in matches where Palace would demand more creativity.
This is in keeping with the tone of his career. McCarthy had an eye for goal in his formative days but, at the highest level, his main attributes are his athleticism and midfield play that is efficient rather than spectacular.
With Ireland, there have been days where he has chased games without really making any impact. Before the mid-Euros reshuffle, he got just 27 touches of the ball in the thrashing at the hands of Belgium. He did appear more comfortable in a withdrawn role but that is where Glenn Whelan has operated in qualifying. The veteran never retired from Irish duty but O'Neill had pushed him in that direction. But with McCarthy injured and Declan Rice departed, the new management gave the Dubliner a call.
In truth, the 36-year-old was Ireland's most consistent midfielder across the year where it became clear that keeping fit for international service was his club priority. Hence a move to Hearts that turned sour and then a relocation to League One's Fleetwood for the sake of ticking over.
With Slovakia in mind, the Irish manager has cautioned against overlooking the players that have served him well. He's a loyal man and has a lot of respect for Whelan and therefore it would be a major surprise if he was placed in reserve.
However, it would be equally unusual if he overlooked the claims of a current Premier League operator. Indeed, with Slovakia capable of dominating possession against a decent Wales side, it's apparent that the engine room will have to show plenty of industry come March.
With the ideal-world scenario featuring two away games in quick succession, he ticks the boxes for what Ireland may just require for that mission.
After a run of bad luck that would have challenged the mentality of any player, McCarthy should have a desire to make up for lost time. There's no longer a reason to believe that his inclusion comes with a health warning.