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James McCarthy marks return to Everton's first-team with an assist

The Republic of Ireland midfielder suffered a double leg-break while playing for the Toffees last January.

Everton v Gor Mahia - SportPesa Trophy - Goodison Park James McCarthy celebrates with Yerry Mina during last night's game against Gor Mahia. Source: Richard Sellers

THE GAME WAS nothing more than a glorified friendly, but Everton’s 4-0 win over Gor Mahia last night marked another big step in the right direction for James McCarthy.

The English Premier League club eased to victory against the Kenyan champions at Goodison Park in the SportsPesa Cup final — which is run in conjunction with the African betting company that sponsors Everton.

McCarthy was introduced as a substitute for Cenk Tosun and played the final 30 minutes. It was his first involvement in an Everton first-team fixture since he suffered a dreadful double leg-break during last January’s game against West Bromwich Albion.

Ten days since he made his return to action for the club’s U23 side, the Ireland midfielder continued his comeback by assisting Nathan Broadhead’s goal with a tidy cross.

It’s still relatively early days on his journey back to full fitness, but this was nevertheless a significant chunk of progress for McCarthy.

Martin O’Neill has opted not to include him in his squad for the upcoming games against Northern Ireland and Denmark. The injury-plagued 27-year-old hasn’t played for Ireland in over two years, his most recent cap coming against Georgia in October 2016.

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Paul Dollery

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