James McCarthy's first six months in England under a manager other than Roberto Martinez have been pretty turbulent. At the beginning of the season, McCarthy struggled to break into the starting team, with his biggest impact arguably finding himself at the centre of a dispute between Ronald Koeman and the Irish management team. In fairness to McCarthy, he forced his way back into the side in December: playing reasonably well in an unfamiliar advanced position away to Watford before impressing against Liverpool in an antic Merseyside Derby.
Unfortunately for McCarthy, a hamstring injury led to his substitution at half-time, and he has yet to return to action. He is expected to be out for at least another week.
With just seven Premier League appearances to his name thus far, McCarthy will have starting opportunities limited further with news that Everton have agreed a £22 million fee with Manchester United for French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin. The Daily Telegraph reckon the deal is done, with the fee agreed and the entire transfer to be finalised ahead of this weekend.
The Liverpool Echo reported yesterday that Everton would not allow McCarthy leave the club on loan, following enquiries by two clubs in the Championship, Newcastle and Aston Villa. The same report does state, however, that the club will allow McCarthy leave permanently, which will do little to ease the feeling that McCarthy will have very little first-team football ahead of the qualifier with Wales if he doesn't leave Goodison Park.
Potential destinations for McCarthy are not included in the Echo report, but a link-up with James McClean at West Brom is believed to be a potentiality, as Tony Pulis was interested in reinforcing his midfield with Schneiderlin. Now that the Man United midfielder has decided a link-up with his former Southampton boss preferable to life at the Hawthorns, West Brom may benefit from McCarthy's being pushed further to the fringes through their own transfer failings.