Republic of Ireland international midfielder James McCarthy is to undergo an in-depth investigation at Everton in a bid to get to the bottom of his hamstring problems.
McCarthy’s long-running hamstring worries surfaced again when he limped off after 30 minutes of Everton’s 2-0 Europa League win against Wolfsburg in Germany on Thursday night.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez said: “The reason that he has been affected with this kind of injury is because of the amount of games that he has played in his career.
“I think that we need to understand that as a young man, he is only 23, he has played a huge amount of games — I think it is over 160 Premier League fixtures already. That is incredible.
“His body is getting used to the demands that come from playing European and international football and the domestic competitions as well. So we need to make sure we find the right balance.
“That could go as far as nutrition, making sure the balance between resting and playing the games is right and we will help him in that respect. But it is one of those injuries that comes for the right reasons — just because you are on the pitch.
“He is whole-hearted, he is a sprinter and obviously the soft tissues are always at risk in the way that he is whole-hearted and he gives everything in every performance.
“We are getting James checked out. We do need to get him checked out and find out exactly what the problem is.
“It is a serious problem because it is a problem he has had before. We need to make sure that we find out what is the root of the problem.
“We will assess him and make a decision over the weekend about what to do. This is due to the overload of minutes and the overload of games and James wants to be a help to the squad.
“He presents himself available and does that at international level and any competition that we play in.
“I love that from James but there is a point where we need to take responsibility and help him and give him the right demands to allow his body to grow into what he can cope with and give him the right rest as well.”
Martinez insists that he has no regrets about not taking off McCarthy sooner against Wolfsburg and he added: “I would have had regrets if the injury had of happened in the 80th minute or in the later stages of the game because clearly then it is because the tissues are fatigued and you are running a bigger risk. Football is a contact sport and you always run the risk of injuries. But this was different. It was after 10 or 15 minutes and the soft tissues should have been in good condition. As it is now, what I am focusing on is trying to get deep into the bottom of the problem and making sure we give him the right amount of playing time and the same amount for his body recover and slowly allow him to cope with the demands his role in the football club and at international level represents.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved