herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

passport stamped

HE'S ONE of ours now: Glasgow boy James McCarthy has a senior Ireland cap on his CV and there's no going back. And even though the Wigan man says he never even thought about turning his back on Ireland to declare for his native Scotland, McCarthy says he's relived that his Ireland senior debut is now out of the way.

He even survived the ordeal of the initiation rite for new Irish players -- singing a song in front of the rest of the squad.

"All the speculation is put to bed now. I'm just focused on doing well for Ireland now and winning as many caps as I can," McCarthy said after his debut in last night's 2-0 defeat to the Brazilians.

"I am delighted to have it (the cap) won. For me, there was never an issue about playing international football for anyone outside of Ireland, it was always going to be Ireland, there was never any doubt in my mind. I was delighted to be part of it, I even sang a song for everyone, my choice was 'Walk On'. That was a bit nervy but it had to be done.

"Now I have to build on this, keep working hard with my club and make sure that I do enough with Wigan to stay in the squad. I can't let myself get carried away just because I have one cap."

The 19-year-old Wigan man was afforded time to impress on his debut. When Aiden McGeady played for the senior team for the first time, he played for only the last eight minutes of a nothing game against Jamaica in London. McCarthy got the chance to test himself against Kaka and company -- and he loved it.

"It was nice of the manager to let me have some time on the field. I was delighted with that, especially as my debut was against Brazil in the Emirates. I have to keep working and build on it."

McCarthy had just one regret. He qualifies for Ireland because of his maternal grandfather, Paddy Coyle, and James was very close to his granddad, who died in 2006 aged 89. "A lot of my family were in the Emirates and it was great to have their support," McCarthy told the Herald. "But it was emotional, as well, as my grandad wasn't there."

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