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PA Archive/PA Images McCarthy pictured being stretchered off against West Brom.
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'James is getting better': 11 months on McCarthy nears Everton return after double leg-break
The Ireland midfielder has not played a senior competitive game for Everton since January.

ELEVEN MONTHS ON from a horrific double leg-break against West Brom, James McCarthy is nearing a return to first-team football at Goodison Park.

The Ireland international has not featured in a senior competitive game in 11 months since being stretchered off during a Premier League meeting with the Baggies in January, but manager Marco Silva has provided a positive update on the player’s return.

“James is getting better,” the Everton boss told Everton TV ahead of his side’s meeting with Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.

“It is good to have all of the midfielders available. We will need all of them. It will be important in a busy month.”

Silva did not specify if the 28-year-old would feature in a series of “tough” games over the festive period for his side, with Everton taking on Spurs, Burnley, Brighton and Leicester City.

“I know games will give him a better condition,” the manager said.

Everton v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League - Goodison Park Martin Rickett With a succession of injury setbacks McCarthy has not gotten into double figures in Premier League appearances since 2015/16. Martin Rickett

“But we are playing tough, tough matches and it is not easy to give him what everybody knows will help him get better, which is minutes in those games. But he is a worker and I really like him.”

McCarthy made four appearances in total for the Merseyside club last season and has made just 10 starts since the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign after enduring a recurrent hamstring issue.

In January he suffered the double-leg break while attempting to intercept a shot from West Brom’s Salomon Rondon. The striker caught McCarthy with the follow-through and broke down in tears afterwards as the player was stretchered off.

McCarthy stepped up his recovery at the end of October, starting in an Everton U23 game against Manchester City, while the player has returned to first-team training for a number of months.

He also played the final half an hour off the bench in a 4-0 friendly against Kenyan champions Gor Mahia, where he registered an assist on 7 November.

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