James McCarthy’s Everton future ‘exciting’, says Roberto Martinez

Toffees manager says midfielder can work well together with Ireland team-mate Darron Gibson

Robero Martinez has dismissed speculation surrounding the future of Ireland's James McCarthy and insisted the midfielder and his international colleague Darron Gibson have a bright future in the Everton midfield.

McCarthy has been speculatively linked with Macnhester United during the summer but a new contract is on the cards at Goodison Park, it seems, as has been the case with midfielder Ross Barkley and defender John Stones.

“I don’t welcome or not welcome good comments about our players,” said Martinez. “For me, James McCarthy is one of the best midfielders in the league and I don’t get surprised if other teams send good footballing compliments. But in terms of his future, his future is clearly with Everton and it is an exciting one.”

The Spaniard also sees Gibson as part of that future, with the Derryman now back to fitness after a season on the sidelines due to a knee injury sustained on Ireland duty against Kazakhstan.

"We have got very good midfielders at the club," Martinez added. "You saw last season that James had a really good partnership with Gareth Barry. But when James and Darron played a couple of times together for Ireland they showed great understanding. They link-up together really well.

“Mo Besic (of Bosnia-Herzegovina) brings something in there as well so we have really good competition for places at the moment - all different players who bring different things and different partnerships.

“So it is an exciting part of the pitch really, that midfield area.”

Ireland full-back Séamus Coleman will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness ahead of the season opener against Leicester City on Saturday.

The Killybegs man has been laid low by a hamsting injury picked up in pre-season but may yet feature against the league newcomers, having returned to training this week.

“It is a bit too early to know if he will be available for Saturday,” Martinez said, “but he is already training with the team so we will see how things go before the game.”