Everton boss Ronald Koeman has told The Mirror that he thinks James McCarthy has a long-term future at the club having rejected a bid from Newcastle United for his services.
McCarthy, 26, was a key player under former Everton boss Roberto Martinez, as he followed the Spaniard to Goodison Park in 2013 having worked with him at Wigan Athletic.
With 113 appearances for the Toffees in his first three seasons with the club, McCarthy was a mainstay of the Everton midfield under Martinez, but he's found life under Ronald Koeman much more difficult.
James McCarthy celebrates with Leighton Baines
The Irish international has started just six Premier League games this season, making a total of nine appearances in all competitions as he has struggled for form and fitness, having endured a couple of injury blows.
Many expected McCarthy to leave the club during the January transfer window, especially given that Koeman snapped up his former Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, whilst youngster Tom Davies has also emerged as a midfield star in recent weeks.
However, the Daily Mail reported over the weekend that Everton had rejected a £16million bid from Newcastle United for McCarthy's services, with the Toffees adamant that he wasn't leaving before the deadline.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman
McCarthy will now be hoping for more first-team football before the end of the season, and manager Koeman spoke about his future ahead of tonight's clash away at Stoke City.
Koeman told The Mirror that he sees McCarthy having a 'long-term future' at Goodison Park, and he didn't want to lose another midfielder, with Darron Gibson joining Sunderland earlier this week.
Koeman added that his attitude on McCarthy hasn't changed, and will leave him out if necessary, but feels he has real quality, and is pleased with his involvement in the squad.
“I see him having a long-term future here because I think he is a really good player and those players we need for the future of Everton,” said Koeman. “We need competition in the midfield and that is what I mentioned to the board of the club. There is no possibility for one of the midfielders to go – yes for Darron Gibson, because there was too much competition for him, but not for James.”
“My attitude hasn’t changed towards him. My attitude is the same. If what happened with all the injuries and all the call-ups for Ireland I will do the same. Of course he’s really on a good fitness level and that makes James a better player than I saw in the beginning. At the beginning he was not fit, he had his problems with his hamstring. Now I am really pleased with his quality and how he is involved in the team,” he added.
Do you think McCarthy has a long-term future at Everton?
Have something to tell us about this article?