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Tuesday 24 September 2019

McCarthy makes England debut – but parents miss out on milestone

The Southampton goalkeeper’s mum and dad were on their way back from Peru.

Alex McCarthy was a half-time substitute as England beat the United States (Mike Egerton/PA)
Alex McCarthy was a half-time substitute as England beat the United States (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Jonathan Veal, Press Association Sport

When Alex McCarthy’s parents look back on the photos of their holiday of a lifetime to Peru, the memories might just be bittersweet.

While they were on their flight back after trekking up Machu Picchu, they missed a moment no parent would ever want to – their son’s England debut.

The Southampton goalkeeper came on as a half-time substitute in the Three Lions’ 3-0 friendly win over the United States on Thursday, replacing Jordan Pickford.

The 28-year-old was mostly a spectator as Gareth Southgate’s men dominated against weak opposition, but when he was called into action he did so tidily and without fuss.

So, not long after his mum and dad climbed to the summit of one of the most famous sites in the world, McCarthy admits he reached the top of his career.

“Obviously it’s an unbelievable experience, as a kid I grew up dreaming of playing for England and finally got to put that shirt on so it is a very proud moment for me and my family,” he said.

“The gaffer told me a couple of days ago so I knew I was going to get a half so I could try and get my family here.

“Unfortunately my mum and dad are away in Peru so they missed it, but my Mrs and sister are here.

“I spoke to them before they flew so they knew, they land on Friday morning so they will have to watch the highlights!

“They booked it months and months ago so it is unlucky timing.

“They went trekking up Machu Picchu, it has been booked for months, its a 17- hour flight so they wouldn’t have made it back.”

McCarthy’s debut came in a game that will be remembered for the send-off Wayne Rooney got.

England’s record goalscorer made his 120th and final appearance as his country paid homage to his career.

Rooney, who came on just before the hour-mark and almost got on the scoresheet for a 54th time, spoke to the players before the game at the hotel and then again in the dressing room.

The former Manchester United striker said it will be a night he remembers for a long time, and McCarthy feels the same.

“It is a massive game that you want to be involved in, Wayne has had a massive career so it is nice for him,” McCarthy added.

“It is nice we won and kept a clean sheet but I think everyone is over the moon for him with the career he has had.

“He’s an unbelievable player and has had an unbelievable career so hats off to him.”

PA Media

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