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Concern for Kenny as James McCarthy takes a knock in Palace pre-season friendly

McCarthy lasted just 20 minutes against Oxford United on Tuesday.

McCarthy in action at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.
McCarthy in action at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.
Image: PA

IRELAND BOSS STEPHEN Kenny must wait for an update on James McCarthy’s fitness ahead of next week’s Nations League opener.

McCarthy started Crystal Palace’s 2-1 pre-season win against Oxford United yesterday but lasted just 20 minutes before taking a knock which forced him off.

The midfielder is due to join up with his international team-mates on Sunday ahead of Ireland’s game in Bulgaria next Thursday.

Naming his squad this week, Kenny pointed to a central role for McCarthy in the upcoming games against Bulgaria and Finland, and hailed the 29-year-old as Ireland’s “most expressive passer” and “the best midfield player of the generation”.

“He is someone who is extremely talented,” Kenny said.

“He has an exceptional range of passing. I don’t think we have utilised him in his best position a lot.

We haven’t utilised his talent overall and injuries have prevented him becoming sort of regarded as the best midfield player of the generation which in my mind he is.

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“He’s only 29 now so even some of his best performances might be ahead of him if he can stay fit.

“If we can get him facing the goal and get the ball to him in midfield with the speed that we’ve got, attacking options and the speed, it could be a good combination.”

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