And while doubts have been expressed about his temperament in the past, notably by former manager Giovanni Trapattoni, the Everton man insists he is unaffected by the increasing scrutiny of his performances and attitude to lining out for Ireland.
‘I wasn’t aware of anything that has been said about me,’ McCarthy is quoted as saying in today’s Daily Mail. “It’s people from the outside, if they want to say something they’ll say it.
“It’s water off a duck’s back. I’m not fussed. I’ve had it since I turned out for Ireland, people having goes, people shouting at me from here and there. It doesn’t affect me.”
“I’ll keep playing the way I play. It has never bothered me and it never will.”
On the RTÉ 2FM radio show Game On last night, Eamon Dunphy was again heavily critical of McCarthy, who failed to impose himself on the 1-1 draw with Poland, particularly in a disappointing first half.
“McCarthy is really turning out to be a terrible flop,” said Dunphy. “He doesn’t do anything. He could be a holding player perhaps doing what Whelan is supposed to be doing.
“I don’t agree with you that he’s a different player for Everton, he isn’t. He’s just perhaps got better players around him. But he still doesn’t really move the ball forwards. He never really changes the tempo of the game, this is the key.”
In his Irish Examiner column last Saturday, Liam Brady expressed concern about McCarthy’s hunger for playing for Ireland.
And in today’s column, Brady suggested an improved second-half showing against Poland raised as many questions as answers.
“I can’t say he really answered any of my doubts Sunday night. In fact, he had me scratching my head again for a long time. He was anonymous in the first half when, far too often, it was safety-first with him. Whatever about one player, when you have two midfielders like that, it’s very difficult to get any real moves going.
“It seemed to me that McCarthy really only started to play when McClean started to play, and the crowd as well as the team were lifted. It was then that we started to see the energy McCarthy has. In the last 20 minutes, he was bursting forward and he was getting closer to the Poles and dispossessing them. It was good stuff — but 20 minutes of that from a player of his ability is not really good enough.”