Ireland boss on potential October recall for Celtic star James McCarthy

By David Walton

August 26, 2021

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has given Celtic star James McCarthy hope of a potential return to the international fold in October.

McCarthy wasn’t named in the ROI squad today for the upcoming World Cup qualification matches next month. That won’t have surprised many, with the midfielder’s last game for his country coming in October 2020 against Slovakia.

Injuries and a lack of game-time with Crystal Palace haven’t helped McCarthy’s case. However, his move to Celtic has sparked hope of a potential return to Kenny’s squad in the near future.

And even though he missed out on the September fixtures, McCarthy has been granted hope of a potential recall for the October games.

As quoted by, Kenny said the following on the Hoops man:

The Odsonne Edouard gamble Celtic look set to take

“James hasn’t been available for Celtic for the last week or 10 days.

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“I have had a very good conversation with James and the October window is more realistic for James when he gets games under his belt and feels well again and ready to go.”

James McCarthy will win his place with Ireland back but Celtic spot takes priority

The message from Kenny is clear. McCarthy simply has to get himself playing regularly and operating at a consistent level for Celtic before he’s given a return.

McCarthy has only played two international matches stretching back to 2016. He’s hardly part of the fabric of the current setup in Dublin.

However, when you go through the ROI midfield, there isn’t a lot there that should be keeping him out when on top form. The likes of Aston Villa’s Conor Hourihane, Nottingham Forest’s Harry Arter, and Newcastle man Jeff Hendrick are hardly too good to compete with for McCarthy.

Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

But this omission is hardly a surprise. Since signing for the club several weeks ago, McCarthy has still to win a regular spot. As he builds up his fitness, his only two appearances have been cameo displays against Hearts and AZ Alkmaar respectively. He missed Saturday’s 6-0 rout of St Mirren and won’t be available to face Alkmaar tonight.

Thankfully, Postecoglou does believe that McCarthy could be available for Ibrox on Sunday [Glasgow Times]. So it won’t be long until he’s back in contention for the Hoops again.

We’ve still to see James really get a run of minutes under his belt the way Joe Hart, who signed on the same day as McCarthy, has managed. There’s undoubtedly more competition for the Irishman, but the rewards are there for him if he can get back up to top form.

In other news, AZ Alkmaar’s week off would make Celtic victory even more impressive