Roberto Martinez seems very certain that he’ll keep hold of his prized young midfielder James McCarthy for the foreseeable future, dashing any hopes of suitors Liverpool and Arsenal from signing the Wigan man in January.
The Scottish-born Ireland international has long been on the radar of top clubs after having trials with the Anfield side as well as Celtic, however nothing came of it and he instead joined Hamilton Academical.
After impressing in Scotland, he joined Wigan in 2009, making an immediate impact. And despite being so young, he almost immediately became a first-team regular and has continued to put in some crucial performances ever since – including scoring two goals in the recent draw against QPR.
It has now come to that stage in his career, at the age of 22, when many people will be calling for McCarthy to think about moving on to a higher platform in order to progress and further enhance his reputation.
According to the Daily Mail, however, Martinez believes he can keep hold of his player for another couple of seasons, and has been quoted saying:
“It’s rare for a player so young to have such composure on the ball, but there is even more to come. He has another two steps to go to fulfil his potential, and I can guarantee he will do that.”
Before confidently adding:
“It won’t be difficult hanging on to him, because he is in the perfect place at the moment, and he knows that. He will fight to win titles and play in the Champions’ League, and when he does, we will all be very proud here. But it will only happen when it is right for him and us, and that will be a few years down the line.”
Maybe the Wigan manager is right to an extent, as would McCarthy be able to go straight into the starting XI’s at clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal? Probably not just yet. But with the Latics seemingly set to be involved in yet another relegation scrap at the end of the season, the DW Stadium is certainly not the place for the starlet to carve out a long-term future at.
He should definitely see out the rest of the season at his current club, get more games under his belt and then he can think about his options. McCarthy is certainly one for the future and should be preparing his goodbyes in these next few months as he looks to end on a high and sell himself to potential buyers.