Wednesday 21 February 2018

McCarthy faces long road back

Ireland midfielder looks set to be sidelined for a year after suffering horror double leg break

Everton and Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy leaves the field on a stretcher yesterday after his horrific leg break at Goodison Park. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Everton and Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy leaves the field on a stretcher yesterday after his horrific leg break at Goodison Park. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Colin Young

Republic of Ireland international James McCarthy is facing a year on the sidelines after suffering an agonising double leg break in Everton's draw with West Brom yesterday.

Sam Allardyce, the Everton manager, confirmed the 27-year-old midfielder had broken his tibia and fibula after Salomon Rondon's follow-through from a shot connected with his right leg an hour in to the 1-1 stalemate.

The Venezuelan striker pleaded with referee Stuart Attwell to stop the game immediately and was in tears as McCarthy was treated on the pitch by medics who had rushed on immediately after the incident.

Ireland captain Seamus Coleman, who is on the verge of a comeback from his own serious leg break, was seen leaving his seat at Goodison Park and is believed to have seen his international team-mate in the medical room before he was taken to hospital.

The injury is a huge blow to the former Hamilton Academical and Wigan Athletic midfielder who had only just returned to the Everton side under Allardyce after recovering from the hamstring injury which ruled him out of the tail-end of Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign last year.

The Glasgow-born Ireland international has 41 caps since making his debut eight years ago under Giovanni Trapattoni and he was expected to be a key squad member under O'Neill for the new UEFA Nations League and the Euro 2020 campaign.

His injury comes as communications between Everton and Ireland showed signs of improving following the difficult relationship between Allardyce's predecessor Ronald Koeman and Martin O'Neill. Ironically, the pair frequently clashed over McCarthy's availability and lack of fitness.

It was soured further when Coleman suffered his broken leg during the World Cup qualifying draw with Wales last March. Ireland captain Coleman is expected to return to playing action soon and Allardyce has already talked positively about the Irish pair since he took over at Goodison.

The Everton manager admitted last night that McCarthy had suffered "an awful injury".

"His tibia and fibula have been broken from his really brave efforts to stop West Brom with a possible scoring opportunity," he said. "He's paid a heavy price for his commitment there."

Asked how soon the player would have his operation, former England coach Allardyce added: "When we do it will depend on the specialist surgeon.

"Obviously it's a big blow for him and us because he's had so many games missed recently with not-so-serious injuries that we thought we had overcome, and certainly had overcome them over the last few weeks. Now this is one serious injury which we know will keep him out until next season at some stage, that's a big blow."

The injury overshadowed a game which saw Oumar Niasse score the fastest goal by a Premier League substitute this season 59 seconds after coming off the bench to cancel out Jay Rodriguez's seventh-minute opener in Allardyce's 1,000th managerial game.

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