James McCarthy has struggled to cope with the intensity of Ange Postecoglou’s training methods during a difficult start to life at Celtic as highlighted in yesterday’s defeat to Livingston, as reported by The Athletic.
The McCarthy of, say, seven years ago, the McCarthy who played such a key role in the Everton side that troubled the Champions League places under Roberto Martinez, may have been a perfect fit for a Hoops side looking to play a brand of high-octane, high-pressing football this season.
Unfortunately, the McCarthy of now is not the McCarthy of then.
Injuries, from hamstring strains to groin twinges, appear to have taken their toll on the 30-year-old’s body.
In fact, the Republic of Ireland international hasn’t started more than 20 games in a league season since the 2015/16 campaign at Goodison Park, when Arouna Kone and Steven Pienaar were still Everton players and Oumar Niasse was new on Merseyside.
So perhaps it should be no surprise to learn a player who has missed 74 games through injury in the past four years has found it difficult to adapt to Postecoglou’s demands at Celtic.
James McCarthy seemed to struggle for Celtic vs Livingston
According to The Athletic, McCarthy, a boyhood Hoops fanatic who joined on a free transfer from Crystal Palace in August, has struggled with the “pace and intensity” required in Postecoglou’s training sessions.
It’s understood the former Australia boss, meanwhile, was not central to the deal that saw McCarthy join the club seven weeks ago.
Who brought McCarthy to Parkhead is anybody’s guess but, if he continues to put in performances like the one during yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to Livingston, fans will start to ask some serious questions.
McCarthy, an injury-hit 30-year-old, signed a long-term deal with the Glasgow giants that keeps him at the club until 2024. On this week’s evidence, and with just one Celtic start under his belt so far, the wisdom of that deal should be questioned.