Saturday, May 2, 2009

McCarthy named young player of the year

Ireland U21 star James McCarthy capped off a remarkable season when he was named as Scotland's young player of the year last night.

Celtic's Scott Brown was voted the players' player of the year at the Scottish PFA awards, but midfielder McCarthy, still only 18, took home the young player award.

McCarthy, capped twice at U21 level by Ireland, has scored six goals in 33 SPL games for Hamilton this season, including both goals in a vital 2-1 win for the relegation-threatened side in a win over Kilmarnock on Saturday.

Meanwhile Hamilton Academicals manager Billy Reid believes that James McCarthy’s immediate future still lies at New Douglas Park, despite the interest the youngster has attracted from a host of top clubs.

Reid watched the 18-year-old put in one of his most impressive shifts for the club on Saturday, tearing Kilmarnock apart and scoring both goals in his side’s 2-1 win.

Although there are plenty of teams who would love to pry the young Irish under 21 international away from Lanarkshire come the summer transfer window, Reid hopes he can hang on to his prized asset for a little longer.

“He’s in no hurry to leave, but if something comes up and James thinks it’s right for him and the club we’ll sit down and that could be the case” said Reid.

“But I think he sees the education he’s getting at this club.

“There were eyebrows raised when he didn’t go and sign for Celtic or Liverpool when they were interested at 15 years old, but I think he’s been proven right.

“He’s matured as a young man and is enjoying his football here.”

Young Player of the Year nominee McCarthy more than justified his inclusion in the list of candidates for the award in the crucial relegation dogfight, displaying all the credentials that have earned him endless praise over the season.

His manager believes that when the starlet is at peak fitness he can be simply unstoppable.

“He has no weaknesses” insists Reid. “Whatever’s thrown in front of him he deals with it, on and off the park, and all credit to him.

“He’s been running on empty on recent weeks. We tend to forget he’s only 18 and you can see at training that he’s tired.

“It’s been a long season for him, but the few breaks we’ve had recently have helped him enormously.

“When he’s fresh, he’s a fantastic football player who has everything. Vision, pace, goals and he links up the play, and he works back the way as well which is important.

“He is outstanding.”

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