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Sunday 17 December 2017

James has a Euro vision

McCarthy eyes up Europa League success as Barkley signs new deal

James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA
James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

JAMES McCARTHY says he has European ambitions with club and country as the beginning of new campaigns in the Premier League and Euro 2016 loom into view.

Last season brought a double disappointment for the midfielder as Ireland of course failed to reach the World Cup finals while Everton's bid to qualify for the Champions League also ended in disappointment.

A Europa League campaign with the Toffees will make up for the disappointment in the Champions League for McCarthy, the club boosted in the last few hours with news that England man Ross Barkley has signed a new four-year contract, another piece of good news in the midfield area for the club as Darron Gibson keeps up his bid to recover from the knee injury which ended his season in October.

Boast

And for McCarthy, missing out on the Champions League is a let-down but participation in Europe is still something to boast of.

"You would like to get into the Champions League but, thankfully, we've got the Europa League," says McCarthy.

"A lot of people say the Europa League is not such a big thing but it was a massive achievement for each and everyone of us at the club. It will be tough but we will give it everything.

"Obviously, it will be a long season with the Europa League and I am sure the gaffer will bring in rotation. To be honest, I'm looking forward to getting into the season and getting going again. It is a big season ahead.

"We are no different from any other club. Our main aim is to get into the Champions League. We want to improve on last season and push on even further.

"Everyone's dream is to win the Premier League, isn't it? Liverpool nearly did that. They did not get there in the end. So you never know. Obviously, we will bring in players and we won't get carried away. It's a longer season but we will give it our best shot."

McCarthy saw some of his Everton team-mates line out for England at the World Cup finals in Brazil and he hopes to play a part in France 2016.

"Not qualifying for the World Cup was a big disappointment but now we've got this opportunity and, hopefully, we can achieve big things with the Euros," he says.

"When we meet up in camp and get together, we will get everybody focused on the goals that we want to achieve. You want to qualify for big tournaments," added McCarthy.

Tiredness

He missed out on the opportunity of working with Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane in Ireland's end-of-season games over the summer as he skipped international duty due to tiredness but he is enthused by working with Roberto Martinez, his former boss at Wigan before they paired up against at Everton.

"I've known him five years now and he's brilliant. Last season, the lads here knew he wanted to change the system they were used to. They adapted very quickly and well. They are a great set of lads and, with the gaffer bringing in Gareth Barry, I have just loved it.

"We had the highest points tally we have ever had in the Premier League (72 points and finishing above Tottenham and Manchester United) which was brilliant," added McCarthy.

Meanwhile, Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has hailed the new deal signed by Barkley.

"Everton and Ross have always been the perfect fit - Roberto has made it even more special," he said.

"This was an important agreement and, I have to say, was conducted in a way that showed clearly the devotion to Everton Football Club of everyone involved."

Barkley said: "It means everything to me. It's a dream playing for Everton. As soon as I got told about it I wanted to sign.

"I've played for Everton most of my life. This is a big thing for me."

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