Pat Bonner opens up on private chat with Celtic man James McCarthy
Celtic great Pat Bonner has disclosed details of a private chat he had with James McCarthy as he explained why the midfielder has been struggling.
There’s been a great deal of spotlight on how McCarthy has settled into the club over the last 24 hours. This comes after a poor performance against Livingston on Sunday that was followed by an article in the Athletic claiming he was struggling to deal with Ange Postecoglou’s training methods.
Despite signing on August 4th, Celtic fans have had to wait over a month for McCarthy to make his first start. This has, however, partly been down to the fact he didn’t have a pre-season due to being released by Crystal Palace.
But Bonner has opened up on the private chat he recently had with McCarthy which explains why it’s been difficult for him to impress early on.
Speaking via the BBC’s Scottish Football Podcast, Bonner said: “Having watched James yesterday, and he hasn’t played many games, I spoke to him. He has been struggling with Covid also. He said he had to go and he couldn’t train because he had to go and be checked, his heart had to be checked. All of those checks had to be done when he recovered. So he hasn’t had any real training and he hasn’t had game-time.
“James McCarthy will get better, there’s no question. He has the quality, he’s a young man that wanted to come to Celtic as a Celtic supporter. He’ll do okay. It’s too early in the season to be critical of James McCarthy.
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“The way that Ange Postecoglou wants his teams to play – it’s high intensity and I would assume that they’re training in the same way.”
Celtic fans must have patience when it comes to James McCarthy
It feels as though McCarthy has become something of a fall guy for Sunday’s loss at Livingston. The truth is that he wasn’t any worse than about five or six others.
You can understand why so much is expected of the Irishman. Coming from years of experience in the EPL, we expect an accomplished performer. We expect a leader who can fill Scott Brown’s shoes.
But McCarthy can’t click his fingers and be match-fit. Yes, Ange Postecoglou clearly thought he was ready to go at Livingston. The truth is that didn’t look like it was the case. The former Everton man looked as though he could’ve used some more recuperation time.
Celtic fans are expecting a lot from James this season. But it was never going to happen from game one onwards. Not with the lack of consistency he’s had both on the pitch and in training.
That means we can’t truly go judging the signing for a while yet either. We won’t know what levels McCarthy is truly capable of operating at for several weeks yet. For now, it’s vital the Celtic support gets behind him.
We have an extremely talented and well-polished footballer on our hands here. If it’s going to take some time, it’ll likely be worth the wait so long as it isn’t too prolonged.