James McCarthy speaks out to end international speculation
Wigan midfielder James McCarthy has given extensive interview where he finally put to rest any speculation surrounding his international future.
Speaking to the Daily Record, McCarthy reaffirmed his commitment to the Republic of Ireland national football team, and finally put to bed any rumours (or managerial statements) that he may have switched to Scotland.
“I appreciate the interest from Scotland but I do not want to go back on my word,” McCarthy stated. “I am, and will remain, a Republic of Ireland player. I hope to play against Macedonia next weekend and that will put any talk of Scotland to bed once and for all. There can be no going back after that.”
Since pulling out of Ireland’s Carling Nations Cup game with Wales, McCarthy’s international future was once again thrown into the limelight, not least by claims from club manager Roberto Martinez and Scotland’s Craig Levein.
Speaking about the renewed speculation, McCarthy said it was nothing new, but that it came from other people, and not from any desire on his behalf. “I’ve had to contend with this for a few years,” admitted the 20 year old. “But it has really all stemmed from other people wanting it to happen. It reached new levels, went too far really, when I withdrew from the Ireland squad to play Wales.
“It was all above board. I was not long back in the Wigan team after three months out with an ankle injury and I was still taking things slowly as I didn’t want to risk anything. But this became a huge story and all the talk of me playing for Scotland resurfaced.
“My phone never stopped ringing. I’ve never received so many text messages and listened to so many voicemails. My friends were in touch and the media wanted to know what was going on. It was mental really. I’ve never been so popular. Some people may have thought I was going to pledge myself to Scotland but that was never really on my mind, although a couple of people did speak to me about it. But I never spoke directly to Craig Levein about it.
“Trapattoni flew across to England to see me and we met at a hotel. He wanted to look me in the eye and ask if I was happy and committed to Ireland. I told him I was happy and wanted to play for him. It was a good meeting. We were both satisfied at the end of it.
“I want to help Ireland reach the Euro 2012 finals. I appreciate the interest from Scotland but don’t want to go back on my word.”
With that finally cleared up, Irish fans can look forward to seeing McCarthy pick up his second international cap (and first competitive appearance) next weekend when Ireland take on Macedonia in a crunch Euro 2012 qualifier.