Nigel French via EMPICS Sport
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Caldwell admits to trying to convince James McCarthy to turn his back on Ireland

Scottish vice-captain believes McCarthy is destined for big things but wants to see him represent the country of his birth.

JAMES McCARTHY’S WIGAN team-mate Gary Caldwell has admitted that he tried to convince the young star to change his mind about playing for Ireland.

Caldwell, the Scottish vice-captain, has said that he spoke to McCarthy about his decision to play for Ireland rather than for Scotland, the country of his birth, HeraldScotland reports. “I do try to influence him, obviously, because I’m Scottish and I want the best players,” he said.

“I do all I can. But I do also have to help him as a friend and let him know that he has to do what he is comfortable with.”

McCarthy is training with the Ireland squad this week ahead of Saturday’s European Championship qualifier against Macedonia in Dublin. Manager Giovanni Trapattoni has said he will play some part in the Aviva, in which case he would never be able to represent Scotland in the future. Either way, Caldwell believes that McCarthy has a bright international career ahead of him.

Undoubtedly if he came to Scotland he would push 100 caps because he is only 20 years old and he is one of the most talented young players I have seen for a long, long time. The improvement I’ve seen in the last year is frightening. I’m sure he will go on to great things.

McCarthy’s grandfather is Irish, and he has worn the green jersey since under 17 level. However, he has yet to receive a cap in a competitive international, leading to speculation that he might defect back to the country of his birth. Caldwell feels it is a decision that should not be rushed on the youngster.

“To make decisions like that at 19, 20 years old is very difficult. I think he should take a step back and say don’t consider me just now, let me think about it over the summer.”