DON GIVENS believes James McCarthy avoided the same frustrating fate of Liam Miller by opting to join Wigan ahead of more glamorous Premier League names.
Midfield talent McCarthy had been linked with Liverpool and Chelsea in the past year but when he made the switch from Hamilton to English football it was at the unfashionable DW Stadium that he ended up.
But Republic of Ireland U21 chief Givens is adamant the 18-year-old was right not to be lured by the attraction of the superstar names – and used Miller’s fall from the top of the tree as way of warning.
In 2004, Miller made a shock switch to Manchester United from Celtic. The move never really worked out for the Ovens native and he left Old Trafford two years later. He is currently without a club.
“James is potentially an excellent footballer. He has the ability and the attitude to go all the way but it’s a world away from the SPL and the Premier League,” said Givens.
“I think it’s not a bad move for James. If he’d gone to a Liverpool or Chelsea he may have disappeared. It could have been a Liam Miller move – he hit the wall. That was a bad move.
“Liam should have stayed at Celtic another season and really established himself before looking to move on.
“It’s hard to turn down Manchester United but I think Liam should have been realistic and perhaps he wasn’t given the best advice.”
Glasgow-born McCarthy has not made a dynamic start to his time with the Latics – just two appearances so far – but a thigh complaint has halted his progress.
The youngster is confident he can blossom in England in time, particularly now he has escaped the attention of disgruntled Scotland fans angered by his decision to play for Ireland.
“I got dogs abuse at some places but I didn’t really heed it much. When the ball went out of play I’d hear the odd shout sometimes but I just kept focused on my game and blanked it out,” he said. “I never really got angry, I laughed it off. It’s just men shouting and being stupid.”
McCarthy will line out for Ireland in their UEFA U21 Championship qualifier against Estonia in Rekvare this afternoon.
“It’s a big game for us especially after the opening round 3-0 defeat by Turkey, which I didn’t think was a fair reflection of how we played on the night,” said McCarthy.
“It was a blow because we’d played very well in friendlies against Spain and Germany then when the qualifier came around against Turkey it didn’t work out for us. We’d created enough to win it.”
Republic of Ireland Under-21s: Redmond (Burton Albion); Davies (Reading), Moloney (Notts County), Spillane (Norwich), Bermingham (Shamrock Rvrs), Gleeson (MK Dons), McCarthy (Wigan), Garvan (Ipswich), Judge, Sheridan (both Plymouth), O’Shea (Birmingham).
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