James McCarthy is ‘still loving life’ at Everton

Midfielder has been ‘let off the leash’ by Martinez but is yet to receive new deal

James McCarthy scoring the first goal for Everton in their 3-0 win over Manchester United. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

James McCarthy scoring the first goal for Everton in their 3-0 win over Manchester United. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

 

James McCarthy has said his long-term future remains with Everton and attributed an improvement in front of goal to being “let off the leash” by Roberto Martinez.

The Republic of Ireland international was man-of-the-match in the 3-0 win over Manchester United as Everton recorded their biggest win in the fixture since 1992 and extended their unbeaten run to six matches.

McCarthy has been hugely influential for Martinez’s side when fully fit and has been linked with moves to United, Arsenal and Tottenham amid claims he is unhappy at Everton’s reluctance to offer him an improved contract.

The 24-year-old followed Martinez from Wigan Athletic for €18 million in 2013 and, although the manager has said his contribution will be rewarded with a new deal, one has not been forthcoming so far.

McCarthy said: “I have got time on my contract here. As it stands, I am tied down just now anyway. I am happy here. Nothing has changed from day one. I love it and I am still loving life. I have not heard anything. It is new to me if a club is going to come in and buy me in the summer. I have not spoken to anyone. I have not heard anything. The media has done a few stories but I am delighted to be here and I have many years still to come.”

The Glasgow-born midfielder insists his priority this summer is to fully recover from the hamstring issues that have interrupted his season. He believes Everton can make another top six challenge next term.

“I have a couple of games with Ireland this summer and after that I will look after myself and make sure I am ready to go next season. I am sure the manager and the physios will give me a programme to make sure I am keeping on top of things. It has been a very frustrating campaign for myself. Each and every one of us wants to get better and hopefully we can kick on. We want to finish this season on a high and next season we need to go again. We want to be pushing for European places, Champions League places, we want to have a go again.”

Having scored only once in his first 18 months at Everton, McCarthy has scored two in the past four games at Goodison including the opener against Louis van Gaal’s side.

“We have been working in training on a different style of play. The manager is letting me push on,” he said. “Gareth Barry is sitting in there and I have to try to get back and help defensively but the manager wants to try to get more goals in my game. He is letting me off the leash a little.”

Dismissive

Roman Abramovich

Mourinho’s defence of the way his side play followed the goalless draw at Arsenal on Sunday when home supporters bellowed a chorus of “boring, boring Chelsea”.

“He [Abramovich] is very happy,” said Mourinho. “I saw him hugging the players in the dressing room after the game and, yes, I think he’s happy and I think every Chelsea fan is happy if we win the title. If we do, we will have had a fantastic Premier League season.”

Mourinho has consistently pointed to the fact that only Manchester City have scored more goals, 70 in 34 league games to Chelsea’s 65 in 33.

“Everyone speaks about teams playing fantastically well because they ‘had great ball possession’. It looks like the goals aren’t important . . . For me, it’s still about putting the ball in your opponents’ net, and keeping it out of your own.” Guardian service

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