James McCarthy helped the Republic of Ireland to a famous win over Italy last night, ensuring their phase in the knockout round at Euro 2016.
McCarthy had been criticised by supporters for his display as Ireland lost 3-0 to Belgium on Saturday but helped redeem himself last night.
Republic of Ireland's James McCarthy heads clear of Italy's Simone Zaza
McCarthy completed 87 per cent of his passes, a higher rate than his fellow midfielders, managing 42 touches in the 74 minutes he played before he was withdrawn.
The Everton ace led the team with six vital interceptions - while the rest of the Republic of Ireland side managed five combined.
Despite his vital battling, his replacement Wes Hoolahan proved more of a difference maker offensively, delivering the assist for Robbie Brady to head home a memorable late winner.
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Brady scores their first goal
McCarthy's performance will give him a vital confidence boost and he has to continue to play at a high level if Ireland stand a chance of progressing past the last 16.
They face hosts France and he will come up against the towering Paul Pogba in midfield, but there is an edge to the game after the way Thierry Henry famously cheated Ireland out of World Cup qualification a decade ago.
Here is a look at how fans reacted to McCarthy's performance...
James McCarthy showed what he can do when we play football. Best display so far.— Darragh Kelly (@Tassie_P) June 22, 2016
James mc carthy has taken sum stick from the Irish media in the tournament so far but he's been without doubt our best player 2nite #COYBIG— Colm Garvey (@GarveyColm) June 22, 2016
Big fan of James McCarthy, surprised a bigger club haven't come in for him, Tottenham were interested a while back— Francis McGovern (@begbie_PLI) June 22, 2016
No one has the courage to say it but James McCarthy was immense tonight and big reason why Ireland have dominated possession— Brian Murphy (@MurfBrian) June 22, 2016
Well played James McCarthy— Steven McNamara (@Ste_Ireland11) June 22, 2016
I must say James McCarthy has been doing some of his best 2 yard sideways passes here tonight.— Bryler Durden (@patto1878) June 22, 2016
James McCarthy is having a boss game here— Johnpaul MacDonald (@jpmac_91) June 22, 2016
This is the James McCarthy that got the reputation of being class. #Everywhere— Dan Dempsey (@DanDempsey139) June 22, 2016
James McCarthy is the most overrated player in the most overrated league in the world, sort of an achievement in itself— IrishStoner (@stoner_irish) June 22, 2016
Everton's James McCarthy and Bournemouth's Glenn Murray