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Jamie Carragher: I'd love to see James McCarthy at Liverpool

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Jamie Carragher believes that James McCarthy can become the complete midfield player if he adds more goals to his game

Jamie Carragher believes that James McCarthy can become the complete midfield player if he adds more goals to his game

?INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Jamie Carragher believes that James McCarthy can become the complete midfield player if he adds more goals to his game

Jamie Carragher has admitted that he would love to see James McCarthy in a Liverpool jersey but stressed that the Irish international needs to score more goals before he can be considered one of the Premier League's best players.

McCarthy was part of the Toffees team that suffered a torrid time in Kiev on Thursday, yet Carragher remains a big fan of the midfielder, who trained with Liverpool as a teenager before deciding against a move south from Hamilton at that stage of his development.

Given the power to pluck one individual from the Everton dressing-room, Carragher would opt to bring the 24-year-old Ireland star across the city to boost the Reds engine room.

However, he accepts that it may be unrealistic, and also feels that Jordan Henderson is ahead of the Glaswegian at this point because of his strike rate.

Brilliant

"I love McCarthy, I think he's a brilliant player," says Carragher. "If there was one player I could take from Everton to Liverpool it would be James McCarthy. I think he's just got to add goals.

"Jordan Henderson was maybe at that stage a year ago where you really like what you see but there could be a few more goals or assists to take him up to another level.

"Even though James McCarthy plays a more defensive role, he's shown he can get forward.

"He's a complete midfield player, he works hard, he can tackle, he can pass and I think eventually he'll be the captain there. I'd now class Henderson as one of the top midfielders in the country.

"I love watching McCarthy but I think to be classed as one of the best in the league, he probably needs to add a few more goals and assists to his game.

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Everton's James McCarthy celebrates scoring their first goal with Phil Jagielka

Everton's James McCarthy celebrates scoring their first goal with Phil Jagielka

REUTERS

Everton's James McCarthy celebrates scoring their first goal with Phil Jagielka

"But that may come with maybe being a bit more adventurous if Roberto Martinez allows that or wants that."

The highly regarded player, a transfer target for Arsenal, has suffered an injury interrupted campaign that has affected his availability for both club and country and a discussion with Martinez brought home to Carragher just how important McCarthy was in the Goodison Park set-up.

"I spoke to Roberto about two months ago about the bad run and he said 'there's only one player we can't replace in the squad and that's James McCarthy.' No other player in the squad gives them what he gives them.

"I've highlighted it plenty of times on Sky," continued Carragher, speaking on a promotional visit to Dublin for Carlsberg.

"The work he does and the cover he gives Seamus Coleman. Seamus likes to bomb forward and the work McCarthy does for him getting back, he allows that. I think him and Gareth Barry do so much work for the full-backs, they're always filling in when they go forward.

"So James McCarthy spends half his time at right-back when I watch Everton. And that's not a criticism. I think that's a tactical thing from Roberto Martinez."

Coleman endured a rough night in Kiev, but Carragher feels that the Donegal man is labouring because of what's going on around him.

"Last season Coleman was the best right-back in the league," he continued. "We put him in our team of the year. He was outstanding.

"But, like everyone, when a team's not playing well, it's very difficult to show your true form so he hasn't had the season he had last season. But you can say that about every Everton player."

Meanwhile, Jon Walters is on course to figure in tomorrow week's Euro 2016 qualifier with Poland after Stoke boss Mark Hughes confirmed he could play against Crystal Palace today wearing a mask.

Walters fractured his cheekbone against West Brom seven days ago but is keen to return to action and his Irish prospects are good even if Palace comes too soon.

"Jon has had an operation on his cheekbone and he's got a mask that will protect that," explained Hughes yesterday.

"The decision will have to be Jon's and how he feels.

"He's had a general anaesthetic and that needs time to flush out. I will have conversations with him to see if he's ready to go."

Robbie Brady has also returned to training at Hull City which keeps his hopes of involvement against the Poles alive.

Steve Bruce poured cold water on the suggestion earlier in the week but Martin O'Neill must now decide whether to include the Dubliner in a panel that will be trimmed over the weekend.

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