JAMES McCarthy is looking forward to further establishing himself on the international stage tonight – and at the same time exorcising the demons of last weekend’s defeat to West Brom.
McCarthy, who turned 22 on Monday, will win his ninth cap tonight when the Republic of Ireland face Greece in Dublin.
The Latics star is pivotal to Giovanni Trapattoni’s plans for a new Ireland after a dismal Euro 2012 campaign, which McCarthy missed due to personal reasons.
But he has made up for lost time in the matches since, to the point where he is now one of the first names on the team sheet.
“I’m looking forward to the game,” McCarthy told the Evening Post. “Hopefully we can get another good performance and I can get some more minutes under my belt.
“It’s nice to get away with Ireland but Wigan’s always on my mind. You can’t just switch off from what’s going on.
“You always want a midweek game after a loss and, although this one is with Ireland, it’s still something to take my mind off the last game.”
McCarthy is looking forward to linking up with Shane Long, who terrorised the Latics rearguard in West Brom colours at the weekend.
“Shane’s a good lad, I get on really well with him, and was a handful for our defence on Saturday,” McCarthy added. “His movement was different class and it’ll be nice to play with him rather than against him this time.
Elsewhere, Jean Beausejour’s Chile take on Serbia in Switzerland, with Arouna Kone and the Ivory Coast in Austria.
Franco di Santo is hoping to make his Argentina debut against Saudi Arabia, while Ali Al Habsi has been given the green light to play for Oman in their massive World Cup qualifier against Japan.