Next up is a player familiar to all, a rising star who has just completed his third season at the DW Stadium still at the tender age of 21. He is the fourth player of the current squad to be nominated in the Top 50.
James was something of a child prodigy having made his debut for Hamilton aged just 16 years old after graduation from The Accies burgeoning youth academy. He was signed from Hamilton Academicals for a fee of £1,200,000 on 16th July 2009 after Latics beat off fierce competition from Wolves to secure his signature.
It has also been reported that James went down for trials with Liverpool prior to this and rejected the chance to join them on the basis that it was too soon for him and he preferred making his mark in the first team in the rough and tumble of the SPL.
Despite his slight frame and baby face (he’s definitely bulked up a bit during his time at Latics mind) he is a strong midfield performer either in the holding role, out wide or as an attacking force. Although his goal return has not been exceptional, the goals he has scored have proved crucial with his brace against Blackburn stand out a mile as does his goal against the club he rejected Wolves during his inaugural season.
He made his Latics Premier League debut on 22nd August 2009 against Manchester United at the DW Stadium. He was a substitute for fellow debutant Mohamed Diame in a record 0-5 top flight defeat for the Blues and despite (understandably) struggling to have any influence on the game on that particular day he was an almost permanent fixture in the team after that.
James has also courted controversy by choosing not to play for his birth nation, Scotland and instead choose to try and win International caps for the Republic of Ireland being from an Irish Catholic family. His father continues to be a strong influence on this sensible young man and he also turned down the opportunity to play for Ireland in this year’s Euro’s after his dad unfortunately fell ill with cancer.
Here at TNS we also hear of his work back in his local community and his strong, continuing relationship back at Hamilton. Last season, we met an Accies fan who had come down to see James play and got a call on his phone to come down to the tunnel at full time where McCarthy was waiting with a signed shirt for him. Everything we hear about McCarthy and his near namesake McArthur suggests the pair of them are a class act, young men setting a fine example and we can only hope that if James does sometime move on to a bigger club he will leave an equally great legacy in the memories of Wigan Athletic fans and looks back on his time here as fondly as we remember him.
As at the end of season 2011/12 his career total for the Blues was 76+1 Premier League games played during which he scored 4 goals.
From here on in, we will provide you with a quick re-cap of the table as we count down to the top of the shop:
THE TNS TOP 50 RUNDOWN
42. James McCarthy
43. Mickey Worswick
44. Noel Ward
45. Simon Haworth
46. Gary Caldwell
47. Mike Pollitt
48. Bert Llewellyn
49. Bryan Griffiths
50. = Graham Barrow
50. = Maynor Figueroa
50. = Paul Jewell
50. = Graham Kavanagh
50. = Henri Camara
50. = Lee Cattermole
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