James McCarthy makes return from injury as Everton under-23s edge out Manchester City

Sat, Oct 27 2018

McCarthy in action for Ireland against Poland in a 2016 World Cup qualifier. Credit: Laszlo Geczo

James McCarthy stepped up his recovery from a broken leg as he completed his first game in nine months for Everton under-23s on Saturday evening.

The Republic of Ireland international played 90 minutes as the Toffees beat Manchester City 1-0 – his first appearance since breaking his leg in January.

Ireland under-21 international Harry Charsley started at left back for Everton as they overcame the Citizens to return to the top of the Premier League 2 table.

“It’s great to see James back,” said Everton under-23 boss David Unsworth.

“I’m absolutely delighted for him. I know him very well and he’s had a hard time.

“Tonight’s performance just shows all the great work he’s done in the gym and with all the physios and fitness coaches. He got better as the game went on.”

McCarthy sustained a complicated double fracture following a mistimed tackle from West Bromwich Albion striker Salomon Rondon.

The injury was eerily reminiscent of that suffered by his Everton and Ireland teammate Seamus Coleman at the hands of Wales' Neil Taylor in a World Cup qualifier in March of last year.

Coleman made his comeback from his double break in January of this year after ten months on the sidelines, and McCarthy has looked on him as a role model.

"Obviously Seamie had been there and done it," McCarthy said last week.

"When I got into the tunnel [after the injury] I looked up and he was there which was great. We're best mates in football.

"He was telling me not to worry, saying I'll get through it and come back stronger. The next day he came back up when I was in hospital which was really good of him.

"I've asked him if he felt wee niggles and he's been brilliant telling me not to worry. It's good to bounce off him if anything is niggling or anything."