FOR many relegated players, the draw of returning to the Premier League with another club is one which could turn their heads and unsettle them.
It’s fair to see why too. Footballers have a very short career and want to be at the very top.
But with James McCarthy, the professionalism and dedication to Wigan Athletic shines through in that his head hasn’t been turned an inch.
Linked with the likes of Everton and Tottenham, some others would have been knocking on their manager’s door demanding to know what’s going on and when a deal will go through.
Not McCarthy though.
The Irish international has kept his head down and as a result has drawn in the awe of Owen Coyle.
“The important thing for James was that he came back and did his pre-season and got himself doing what he does best and that’s playing football,” said the Latics manager.
“His ability is fantastic for such a young man.
“But as a person he’s just outstanding and we’re very fortunate to have him at Wigan Athletic.
“Whatever path he takes with his career, whoever works with him is going to work with such a wonderful lad.”
Coyle, who has been open and honest with his transfer dealings since arriving at the DW Stadium, insists that the club has had no bids for McCarthy.
He does concede, though, that with a player of McCarthy’s talent, he wouldn’t be surprised to get a call from one of the top clubs.
“All we’re trying to do just now is give him a platform to showcase those talents,” he added.
“If and when that comes about, we’ll deal with it but at the moment it’s just speculation and that’s all it is.
“He’s been an absolute credit to himself the way he has applied himself in his training. He trains with a smile on his face and the players love him to bits.
“Not only because of his ability, but because of the boy he is and that’s a great thing to have.”
McCarthy is expected to feature again this weekend’s game at Bournemouth.
The midfielder is one of several first team players to have been on international duty this week and it’s something which has frustrated Coyle, who expects a tough match tomorrow.
“It’s not ideal but it is what it is and we have to make the best of it, go to Bournemouth and give a big performance,” added Coyle.
“Because of the international games, you would have loved a home game to minimise the travelling but it’s not to be, it’s two away games so we have to make sure we’re ready.
“Going to Dean Court, is a tough game. They had a terrific home win against Charlton on the first day of the season.
“I watched the game from last week against Watford. At half-time, Bournemouth could have easily been in front. We know it’s a tough environment.
“We have to make sure we are ready to give a performance similar to the one at Barnsley and if we do that we’ve always got a chance of picking up points.
“But we know Bournemouth have good players, a terrific manager in Eddie Howe who I know well and have a lot of time for. It will be a tough game but one we’re looking forward to. That’s why we’re in football, because we enjoy games.”