McCarthy and Barkley – most exciting young midfield duo in England?

James Mccarthy

Everton have two rising stars in the centre of the park, which bodes well for the Goodison Park club this season.

Everton’s loss of Maroaune Fellaini to Manchester United at the end of the summer transfer window could well be a blessing in disguise, as the Merseysiders have bolstered their options in the centre of the park as a result.

Loanee Gareth Barry will add an experienced head in front of the back four, but Roberto Martinez has two of the most exciting young midfielders in the league at his disposal to play ahead of that in the form of Ross Barkley and James McCarthy.

If the Spanish manager opts to play three in the centre of midfield, the industry of Barry coupled with the inventiveness and individual skill of the youthful pair will be quite the spectacle for the Goodison Park faithful.

Barkley’s strong start to the season should come as no surprise. The teenager’s ability was on show back in 2011-12 when he first broke into the Toffees’ side, and it has only been debilitating injuries that have held the home-grown star back from reaching his potential. The skill and energy he has displayed his term so far have resulted in a first England cap, and Barkley will only get better with the more games he plays.

However, it is McCarthy’s signing that could well be an inspired one come the end of the season. Signing a player for £13 million from a Championship side may well look extreme, but the prodigious midfielder has the ability to be worth every penny.

McCarthy has spoken of his excitement to get his career at Goodison under way, and knows it will be a step up for him.

It is a price tag and one I need to deal with. I am looking forward to trying to prove why I am here,” he said.

"It is not going to be easy, we have got a lot of competition for places. I am going to give it my best shot and hopefully I can do well.

"I'm just delighted to be at such a great club. It is a great place to be. Since I heard they were interested I wanted to come here."

McCarthy has been on the radar of Premier League clubs from a young age, with the midfielder impressing instantly in the SPL with Hamilton Accies – at the tender age of 15. A bedding-in period at Wigan was only natural, but it has been over the last 18 months that the Republic of Ireland international has really come into his own.

Despite a slight frame, McCarthy has all the attributes to become a top-class midfielder. His range of passing, close control and vision were a key part of Martinez’s brand of possession football at the DW Stadium, while he is not afraid to put a foot in and will work tirelessly.

A £13 million price tag may weigh on the midfielder, but it is a fitting price for a young player full of potential. Already adept at Premier League and international level, if McCarthy continues his progression at Everton he could well be one of the best in his position in the division within a year or two.

With Belgian attacking duo Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku ready to reek havoc in attack, Everton will be a tough opponent for all-comers this season, despite the departure of Fellaini and David Moyes.

image: © Alasdair Middleton

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch