Wigan may have just dropped into the bottom three but they have one reason to be happy in the form of 22-year-old Scottish midfielder James McCarthy. In terms of a complete midfield player, he has everything to succeed at the highest level and he may be cast into the shadows because of the club he plays for.
McCarthy has many attributes which makes him a solid professional player. He is very fortunate to have been guided by a talented coach like Roberto Martinez but the real test for Wigan will now be holding off bids from bigger clubs that come calling for his signature.
Possibly the best part of his game is his vision. He plays simple and complicated passes equally well and doesn’t seem to give much away in his style for either. It takes a very gifted player to smack a ball 50 yards to a teammate while being closed and under pressure but this is something McCarthy can do regularly.
His fitness is superb which means he’s reliable and one of the first names to go down on the team sheet. He’s started all 16 matches for Wigan this season and has bagged two goals. The reason for the low goal ratio is the way he has been used at Wigan. He has been used to break up the play before offloading the ball to more creative and attacking players.
He reads the game very well which is why he is useful in this way. He has picked up four yellow cards this season sometimes for simply committing a foul because he can see his teammates are out of position. However, most of the time his timing is spot on which again releases the pressure on the defensive part of the team.
However, his judgement in the final third is very good when he does get the chance to go forward. He is going to get a lot of attention over the next year as he develops physically because there are a few teams around looking for a midfield enforcer which is something he can do; Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.
He also seems to know how to handle himself in a professional sense which will make a move to any big side much easier. He’s not involved in any incidents away from the pitch and gives everything when he puts the shirt on and goes out to play for 90 minutes.
Martinez has said that he expects McCarthy to stay at the club for this season and beyond but sooner or later a big side is going to snap this lad up for a good fee and he won’t look back.
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