New Celtic star James McCarthy dispels injury record worries; rejected English teams

By John McGinley

August 6, 2021

New Celtic signing James McCarthy doesn’t have any worries about his physical wellbeing despite concerns being raised about his injury record.

McCarthy has signed a four-year deal at the Bhoys, a not unsubstantial contract given he is 30.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder is perceived by some to be injury-prone. This is primarily due to his spell at Everton where he missed a lot of games between 2014 and 2018. That included a leg-break which ensured he was absent for the entire 2017/18 season.

However, since joining Crystal Palace, he’s actually not that missed many games. He’s played 53 games in the last two seasons at the Eagles. When he’s not featured he’s regularly been on the bench too, rather than lacking fitness. [Transfermarkt]

Asked about it today, he told reporters [Celtic YouTube]: “I think the last couple of seasons, the injuries haven’t been as bad. It’s more when I broke my leg.

“The season before last I was involved in 33 or 34 games. Last season I had a couple of small niggles but it wasn’t anything serious. Mentally and physically I feel good.”

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James McCarthy was in demand despite injury record concerns

It seems he’s good to go as soon as he gets up to match fitness, which could be sooner than we think given he’s been training on his own since leaving Palace.

McCarthy also revealed he turned down a number of English and foreign clubs to sign for his boyhood heroes, telling journalists: “My agent spoke to a couple of teams in England and a couple of teams abroad. As soon as I knew Celtic were serious about it then there was only one club for me.”

I think more is being made of McCarthy’s age and injury problems than is merited here. He’s only 30, he’s not on the verge of retirement. Nor is he coming from the wilderness. The midfielder has been a regular in Palace matchday squads for two years now, suggesting the worst of his injury problems are behind him.

The Celtic schedule may ramp things up in terms of demand on his body, but if we can manage him efficiently, he could turn out to be an excellent signing.

In other news, Michael Stewart delivers verdict on Celtic performance vs Jablonec.