SCOUTING REPORT | Long and Curtis continue to impress McCarthy
The Republic of Ireland manager watched Long and substitute Michael Obafemi for Southampton as they lost 2-1 against Jeff Hendrick’s Burnley in the lunchtime kick-off at St Mary’s stadium.
He then made the 20-mile journey down the coast to see Curtis and Marcus Harness in Portsmouth’s 2-0 League One win against a Shrewsbury Town side with Irish prospect Max O’Leary in goals.
“The early kick-off at Southampton made it an easy double for me and I was glad I did make the trip,” McCarthy told FAI.ie for his weekly scouting report.
“Shane looked fit against Burnley, he’s got that athleticism back and the sharpness that comes with playing regular first team football. It was a tough old game but he was right there in the middle of it.
“He was competitive throughout the game and he’s back where we need him to be to push for a place on the plane to Slovakia which is good news while Ronan is making his claim for the play-off as well.
“He didn’t score against Shrewsbury but you could see how confident he is at the minute. He’s on top form with Pompey and he did well on Saturday, as did Marcus Harness who may well feature for us in the future.
“Getting to see Max O’Leary was a bonus. Max trained with us in Portugal in the summer while he sorted out his paperwork and while he could do nothing about the two goals on Saturday, he looks a good goalkeeping prospect.”
The bad news for McCarthy at the weekend came on Sunday when Newcastle United’s Ciaran Clark picked up a nasty looking ankle injury in the Premier League defeat at Arsenal.
“I sent Ciaran a text on Monday wishing him well and assuring him, as we did with James McClean when he got injured last week, that we will give him all the time he needs to get fit for Slovakia,” added McCarthy.
“Like with James, we have to wait for Ciaran’s injury to settle down before we know the full prognosis. The game in Bratislava is still five weeks away on Thursday and I will give both players as long as I can.
“You just don’t know at first with these injuries. I’ve seen everything from two weeks to eight weeks for James’ recovery so I will check in with him again later this week and see how he is doing.”
McCarthy’s coaching staff were busy at the weekend as well as Callum Robinson, who scored his first West Brom goal against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Darragh Lenihan at Blackburn and Glenn Whelan at Fleetwood were all scouted.
“Terry Connor was at the West Brom-Forest game and he was impressed with Callum, not just with the goal but with the way he is playing in his best position which is out on the left and coming in on his right foot which is exactly what he did for the goal.
“Darragh is one of the most consistent defenders in the Championship this season. Robbie Keane was really taken with him when he played against Middlesbrough at the start of the month and he was good again on Saturday.
“Glenn has made Fleetwood tough to beat since he went there, they haven’t been beaten in the six games he has played in and he was Man of the Match against Peterborough at the weekend. That’ll do for me.”