This season is just not getting any better for Everton midfielder James McCarthy. With Ronald Koeman signing Idrissa Gueye, the Republic of Ireland man lost his starting spot in the side. Then he got injured while being played out of position against West Bromwich Albion, with the resulting change in formation leading to a comeback win at the Hawthorns.
He then went under the knife for groin surgery, and missed a few weeks. Upon his return, and before he was fully match-fit, he got called up for international duty where Martin O’Neill proceeded to use him for almost two full games. Koeman was quite displeased by Ireland’s decision, and was not shy about saying so either.
In between all that, he has been linked with a move away from Everton as he has failed to dislodge Gueye from the starting XI. The Blues had stated that he would be going nowhere before the close of the summer transfer window even with offers coming in, but with all these injury issues, they might rethink that stance.
Especially now that it appears that McCarthy has injured himself again, this time tearing his hamstring in training.
This unfortunate incident could see some serious reshuffling of the middle of the pack for the Blues, as both Gueye and Gareth Barry are only one yellow card away from a suspension, and Muhamed Besic is not scheduled to return until the new year. Darron Gibson is fit again after going through a similar groin surgery as McCarthy, but cannot be relied upon to play a full ninety minutes either. Youngster Tom Davies hasn’t featured much though he was used often during the preseason.
He now faces another three weeks out, after suffering a small tear as the Everton coaching staff increased his workload in training last week.
Koeman had earlier protested when O’Neill had done the same with Seamus Coleman as well, but with McCarthy he was much more vocal with the press.
“Play him for 45 minutes, 60 minutes, but not 95 minutes after five to six weeks out. The second time, 80 minutes! You are killing the player.
“If you leave it up to the player to decide, then he is in a difficult situation because he's between the Everton and Irish teams.
“It is ridiculous that he has surgery, five to six weeks out, three training sessions, plays 90 minutes and then, after three days, he plays another 80 minutes.
“Of course, he is massively overloaded. I don't do this to my players at Everton because you get injuries again.”
Now it looks like Koeman’s worst fears have come true.