Everton FC must solve the dilemma of James McCarthy’s recurring muscle complaints before it becomes a serious concern, warns Roberto Martinez
The influential midfielder had to withdraw from the Republic of Ireland squad last week with a hamstring problem, a nagging issue this term, and has also missed games with a thigh injury earlier in the season.
McCarthy, 24, has been plagued by muscle fatigue at times as well, and his manager insists it is vital the club gets to the bottom of what is behind the set-backs.
He said: “We need to assess it.
“Maybe it’s managing the work he does in training, We need to find the right formula because we need to make sure we don’t get these sort of injuries on a regular basis. He’s a super fit boy and he shouldn’t be picking up these sort of knocks.”
The hard-working performer has already clocked up 296 senior appearances in his career to date, and he only turned 24 last week.
Now Martinez, who made it a priority to bring McCarthy with him when he swapped Wigan for Merseyside in 2013, is ready to leave no stone unturned as he bids to find a solution.
“James has played a huge amount of games and is still a very young man,” he added.
“He’s had this same injury before but not in the same leg.
“It’s partly normal phases of development and growing into the physical demands of your role.”
Martinez maintained that McCarthy was “desperate” to play for his national team in their games against Scotland and USA, despite suggestions from Roy Keane that the Blues have pressured players into withdrawing from the Ireland squad.
He said: “James was desperate to be involved with his national team but he couldn’t make it.
“We will try to get him fit for West Ham but it is a bit too early to tell. He hasn’t been able to train with the team and that is a worry on a Tuesday leading up to a Saturday game.
“It’s James’ second injury of this nature in the last month and that’s a bit of a worry. We need to give him perfect treatment and make sure he is fully fit.
Meanwhile Darron Gibson, who complained of a sore knee after playing 70 minutes in Ireland’s qualifier defeat to Scotland, is set for a swift recovery.
“Darron Gibson played against Scotland and got a bit of soreness in his knee.
“He had a year-long lay-off with his ligaments, so we need to be cautious. But I’m very confident he will be available to train very soon.”