Praise for McCarthy but Schneiderlin move puts future in doubt
James McCarthy came in for special praise from Ronald Koeman after his central role in Everton's victory over Arsenal on Tuesday night.
But the imminent arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin has cast further doubt over the Irish international's future at Goodison Park.
McCarthy's energy and aggression was a vital part of a big three points for the Toffees and his approach managed to unsettle Mesut Ozil and annoy Arsene Wenger. "He was very physical but that's down to the referee but I cannot interfere too much in that," said the Frenchman.
However, Koeman was impressed by a performance which was greeted with a standing ovation from a crowd that have been quite critical of the 26-year-old (right) over the past year.
"There was aggression in midfield and I think James McCarthy played fantastically tonight," he said,
"He was one of the motors to start to press and to be aggressive and that was a good message to the rest of the team. [Alongside him], the defence showed the support that the team needed until the last second but that starts with all the players and with commitment."
Schneiderlin is set to join from Manchester United in the January transfer window and it's claimed that he is viewed as a replacement for Gareth Barry.
Summer capture Idrissa Gueye is an established Koeman favourite although his absence during the January window because of African Cup of Nations duty means Koeman is unlikely to let McCarthy go anywhere.
Schneiderlin has not started a Premier League game for United this season after finding himself surplus to requirements under Jose Mourinho and reports in England say that he is ready to move on.
Crucially, he worked with Koeman at Southampton so they already have a healthy understanding and Everton could end up paying close to the £24m fee that United paid to bring the French international to the club.
McCarthy was used in a slightly more advanced berth against Watford last weekend but he is more comfortable in a holding role.
West Brom had also been mentioned as a possible destination for Schneiderlin and Tony Pulis is believed to be an admirer of McCarthy too.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is also keeping an eye on his situation. McCarthy is from a Glasgow family of Hoops fans.
His future has been a talking point throughout this season with a disagreement between Koeman and Martin O'Neill over his availability for Irish duty intensifying speculation.