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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 10 December, 2018

Ready for Denmark? James McCarthy makes long-awaited return in U23 game

The Everton midfielder will be hoping to available for Ireland’s crucial World Cup play-off games next month.

James McCarthy has had a frustrating spell out injured of late.
James McCarthy has had a frustrating spell out injured of late.

JAMES MCCARTHY COULD be in line to feature in next month’s crucial World Cup play-off games after making his return for Everton U23s.

The 26-year-old midfielder has yet to play for the Toffees this season due to a longstanding hamstring injury, despite featuring in Ireland’s squad for the recent matches against Moldova and Wales.

McCarthy last played for Everton amid a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham back in March. He started only seven Premier League games in total last season, in addition to featuring in just two of Ireland’s 10 World Cup qualifiers — the wins over Georgia at home and Moldova away.

But the player made his long-awaited return on Tuesday night, as Everton’s U23s were beaten 3-1 by Wolfsburg in a Premier League International Cup match.

The Liverpool Echo suggest that the Toffees struggled after McCarthy was taken off, reporting: “Everton had looked stronger in the opening five-man defence, but when McCarthy went off at half time for Josh Bowler, Unsworth reverted to his preferred back four, and it spelled problems throughout the second half.”

The former Wigan midfielder will be aiming to return to full match fitness ahead of Ireland’s play-off games with Denmark last month.

Martin O’Neill is a big admirer of McCarthy, who started all four of the Boys in Green’s Euro 2016 matches.

Moreover, with David Meyler set to be suspended for the first leg of the Denmark game, there could be a place in the team available for the Everton star should he prove his fitness ahead of the clash in Copenhagen on 11 November.

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Paul Fennessy

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