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Diplomatic McCarthy plays it smart and does not open old wounds

IF JAMES McCarthy ever finds himself at a loss for something to do, he might consider a job as a diplomat. He has learned the art of saying nothing but plenty of it at a very young age.

McCarthy knew he would have to run the gauntlet of the media at some stage but he was happy to do it and handled himself very well.

As before, he chose soft words and clichés to draw a line under the issue of the often troubled triangular relationship between Giovanni Trapattoni, Roberto Martinez and himself.

But hidden in amongst stock answers to standard football questions, he stood his ground and did so without opening old wounds.

"There wasn't much in it. Just people jumping on things. I had a couple of injuries and there was a mix-up between me phoning and me not phoning. I get on well with the boss," said McCarthy.

Could he understand why Trapattoni was so insistent about turning up in Dublin for a medical check?

"He wants to check over injuries, see his medical staff and see who is injured and what has happened. My physio contacted him at the time but that's all put to bed," he added, having almost the final word on the matter.

Later, when asked whether he now felt fully "integrated" into the squad, he was quick to point out that he had never felt any other way since his first squad back in February 2010.

"I've felt part of it from the start. All the boys have made me welcome and it's good to be amongst them."

Many older than McCarthy would struggle to deal with such circumstances and despite a lot of wasted energy and hot air from both managers, the sense remains that this quiet spoken and confident lad is more than your average footballer.

The best news of all from McCarthy is his deployment as a sitting midfielder by Martinez and the fact that both manager and player are now completely happy with the condition of his ankle.

"I got the knock on the ankle and ever since that he's been a bit worried. I got an injection for the first game of the season and it was still a bit swollen but it's calmed down now."

"It was the one I had the operation on. Any time anyone stands on me, it seems to be the same ankle. It just needed to settle down and I feel fit and ready to go."

McCarthy accepts that he has work to do to make his face fit in Trapattoni's gameplan.

"At club level I've been playing more as a sitter. But Glenn and Keith have been different class and it's hard to get into the team.

"Two experienced pros week in and week out doing well with their clubs and then coming away and doing it with Ireland.

"The manager sets up with two sitters and I'd be happy to do that job if selected," said McCarthy.