Mick McCarthy should pick James McCarthy over Glenn Whelan for the Republic of Ireland’s crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia, according to Damien Delaney.
The former Crystal Palace player was speaking to Off The Ball and made the case for McCarthy, who has been in great form for The Eagles.
“James McCarthy has had a fantastic run of games and has actually done really well today as well. So I’m absolutely delighted for him and hopefully, we see him back in a green shirt sooner rather than later.
“I’ve watched a lot of Palace this year and I think he fits into what Roy Hodgson wants from his midfield players.
“He looks fit for a guy who’s been out of football for the best part of three years at Everton, or definitely two anyway. He looks really fit, he looks hungry and he looks like the James McCarthy of old.
“I think it’s come at a great time for him with Glenn Whelan maybe not playing football. Mick McCarthy will almost certainly be looking for a good defensive midfield player.
“With James having played I think, 10 games in a row now he’ll definitely be fit for the games in March,” Delaney said.
Mick McCarthy has shown a tendency for picking players who have performed for him in the past but the former Ireland international couldn’t rationalise not going with James McCarthy.
“If Glenn Whelan isn’t playing football, which I’m pretty sure he’ll pick something up. But you’ve got James McCarthy, who’s not just playing week in week out in the Premier League, but he’s playing well.
“He looks fit, he’s getting around the pitch, he’s snapping into tackles like he always used to. He fits the profile of what Mick McCarthy is going for.
“If Mick is so stubborn, and I don’t believe he would be, but if he’s so stubborn to shy away from James McCarthy and play Glenn Whelan, well that’s just cutting off your nose to spite your face. I couldn’t see him doing it,” Delaney said.
Ireland take on Slovakia on the 26th of March, so there is still plenty of time for both men to make their case.