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Injured Everton midfielder set to return against Arsenal

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Will Ronald Koeman actually use him?

Everton v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

One of the underlying themes to Everton’s early season form has been the long term absentees due to injury. It seems as though that outlook will slowly be improving, though, and the first player to return to the fold will be Irish central midfielder James McCarthy.

In his press conference today, Ronald Koeman indicated that McCarthy will play for David Unsworth’s U23 side on Tuesday, October 17, then be available for selection against Arsenal on October 22.

McCarthy is back in full training with the senior side, likely thanks in large part to Martin O’Neill finally getting wise and not using the 26 year old when he isn’t fit.

Previously, Irish assistant coach and former Manchester United player Roy Keane had given some interesting comments to the press regarding McCarthy’s situation.

James seems to be getting a lot of injuries at Everton so I don't think we've anything to be worried about in terms of how much we push James.

The medical staff are overseeing all of it and are in contact with Everton and all their scientists. I think they've more scientists involved than there needs to be.

I always think clubs, as much as they look at what we're doing, they certainly have to have look at what they are doing themselves.

Ronald Koeman has never been shy about inserting himself into a verbal tussle with the Republic of Ireland, and he clapped back here as well.

I’m not interested in what Roy Keane has to say about the matter.

...

[McCarthy is] now back, the first time they did a good thing and not to use the player in the state of fitness.

Echo, ClickEverton

It’s not yet evident what role McCarthy will play for the club moving forward. Presumably behind Idrissa Gueye, Morgan Schneiderlin, Tom Davies, Davy Klaassen, and even Muhamed Besic in the depth chart, the Irishman is going to have to work harder than ever to find playing time.

Perhaps McCarthy can get just enough to earn a move away from Finch Farm in the winter, or perhaps he can perform well enough to convince Koeman - or whoever else is managing the club in January - to put him back in the team.