The Irishman suffered another "slight" hamstring strain late in the first alf of Monday's Merseyside derby and did not re-emerge for the second half.
It's the latest in a succession of soft tissue problems to disrupt McCarthy's season. He had to undergo surgery on a groin issue and has been affected by niggling hamstring issues since the operation.
“He was overloaded when he came back from Ireland but I was really confident that James was on a good level of fitness and he showed that against Arsenal," Koeman said in his press conference today.
“There was no reason not to start him against Liverpool, so of course I'm worried about his fitness and his several muscle problems.
“But we need to wait.”
Koeman also confirmed that Maarten Stekelenburg is a doubt for the Boxing Day trip to Leicester City. The goalkeeper also had to come off in the derby following a collision with Leighton Baines.
Reader Comments (49)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 22/12/2016 at 16:41:51
I'd love to see any stats – if they exist – but I'm sure there's something wrong with our physios, training or fitness coaching
2 Posted 22/12/2016 at 16:49:50
And I hope Koeman is not lining up Barry as his replacement because, when he came on against Liverpool, they took control of the game. The situation will be repeated against Leicester if he plays.
3 Posted 22/12/2016 at 17:22:35
4 Posted 22/12/2016 at 17:36:10
5 Posted 22/12/2016 at 17:51:37
Either we play Davies or re-organise without two defensive midfielders.
6 Posted 22/12/2016 at 17:54:03
7 Posted 22/12/2016 at 18:21:40
8 Posted 22/12/2016 at 18:24:37
9 Posted 22/12/2016 at 18:31:58
10 Posted 22/12/2016 at 18:34:37
11 Posted 22/12/2016 at 18:46:15
But the idea of selling him to Celtic is laughable... to waste his talents in the SPL where Celtic have already won the league where they have no opposition.
12 Posted 22/12/2016 at 19:29:24
"[McCarthy] is one of the Premier League's best midfield players [thanks] to Koeman getting him playing the right way from the wrong way Martinez had him playing."
You think...? You do realize, until the single game at the end of last season under Unsworth, and this season under Koeman, James McCarthy's ENTIRE playing career as a Premier League footballer was under Martinez?
The last 1½ games (subbed at half-time against Liverpool, remember?) does not offer sufficient data to reach the sweeping conclusion you leap to.
13 Posted 22/12/2016 at 19:39:25
Against Liverpool in the first half I was left wondering what happened to their usual selves, as they offered little or nothing going forward. The answer was given in the second half when McCarthy did not return, Liverpool were able to go on the rampage without him on the pitch. That's how effective he has become.
14 Posted 22/12/2016 at 19:49:03
You've inadvertently given the reason why McCarthy wasn't on fire for 18 months. Martinez neglected the side, and along with his injuries, Macca didn't perform to his first season standard (along with almost every other player). He was MotM in Unsy's game last game of last season along with Davies, and was prominent in Koeman's early season good form.
Notice how we've gone backwards since he got injured? His comeback game was in an unfamiliar position (ACM) but the next two, as Steavey said against top sides, he was immense, alongside Gueye.
He is amongst the top defensive midfielders in the Premier League, as Sky Sports News have just shown with their stats and graphics showing how well were pressing in the first half of the derby and how we were pushed back in the second.
I think he would find a lot better suitors than Celtic if we were to be stupid enough to let him go. So I hope he comes back fit and sharp, and stays with us for as long as possible, as no-one drives the team as good as he can.
15 Posted 22/12/2016 at 19:49:41
"A player's ability is only really proven against top teams."
So the previous game before playing Arsenal and Liverpool, against Watford when he was totally anonymous and ineffective, doesn't count because ... well, it was Watford, innit? And they're not a top team.
Got it! Thanks, Steavey!
16 Posted 22/12/2016 at 20:08:59
A few on here have been saying for a long time "get rid of him" and "he does nothing". Well, he's actually got a better Premier League tackling rate than Gueye and hasn't got a bad scoring rate for a defensive player, compared to attacking players like Bolasie and Deulofeu. It's a pity people don't notice the unglamorous work he puts in.
17 Posted 22/12/2016 at 20:22:00
I like McCarthy.
I noted after the Derby game his withdrawal at half time proved pivotal. But like you, I acknowledge he has had a poor 2 years (rather than just 18 months) and has been absent and very stop-start due to injuries.
But to describe him as Steavey does as "one of the Premier League's best midfield players" is over-egging it a tad, doncha think?
The point I was making by referencing the fact that, until this year, for the bulk of Jimmy Mac's professional career he played for a single manager, Roberto Martinez (since the age of EIGHTEEN no less).
Ergo, Jimmy Mac is very much made and shaped in the image of Martinez. And against Arsenal and Liverpool, Jimmy Mac was playing as we recall the best of him in his first season at Everton. In the style and the role Martinez schooled him in for EIGHT YEARS!
It has nothing to do with Steavey's claim that "Koeman is getting him playing the right way" whereas his principle creator and mentor, Martinez... wasn't?
Sorry Mick. There is no logic to Steavey's original claim or subsequent post.
Oh! And McCarthy wasn't MotM in Rhino's game against Norwich. That honour went to Tom Davies.
18 Posted 22/12/2016 at 20:46:05
Steavey .you say the idea of selling him to Celtic is laughable to waste his talents in the SPL where Celtic have already won the league where they have no opposition.
I don't care whether he goes to Celtic or not. I chose them because they are his team and he would go there if asked. I don't see that his talent would be wasted because he will be injured.
He is a good player but he is not fit to lace Gana's boots. Different gravy, different league the SPL suits him
19 Posted 22/12/2016 at 20:46:27
But maybe this could be a blessing, as it may force Koeman's hand and give him no choice in the Davies situation.
Davies needs to be promoted. I hope to see him at least on the bench in the next game.
20 Posted 22/12/2016 at 21:31:04
Yet, McCarthy has not played that many games this season until hitting top form against Arsenal and Liverpool. Hopefully, he can return again after his latest injury with his best football.
21 Posted 22/12/2016 at 21:36:53
22 Posted 22/12/2016 at 21:55:09
Yes, he's a Duracell bunny and can press and close all day long but, to be one of the best, you need to add attacking facets to your game dominating and running matches, creating and scoring goals. Unfortunately James has never displayed any of these abilities.
23 Posted 22/12/2016 at 23:06:37
One of the reasons for this is the succession of injuries he's had, and the pressure on him of being key to Everton (particularly before Gueye's arrival) and also being so important to the republic of Ireland.
Between the two, he's really been the victim of something of a squeeze, being rushed back from injury and then being blamed for being injured.
24 Posted 22/12/2016 at 23:39:59
25 Posted 22/12/2016 at 23:50:28
26 Posted 23/12/2016 at 01:44:36
So good was he that most if not all of the previously competent physio staff were dispensed with by our esteemed cheese paring chairman.
So, for his entire English career, McCarthy has maybe been blighted by the total inadequacy that is the mark of the Catalan Clown.
I just wonder if such a run of the same soft tissue injuries means irrecoverable damage? If so, it's a shame because he had a good engine and many a good team needs a water carrier in midfield. Hopefully we have one in Idrissa these days. Successful teams don't need two on the pitch.
27 Posted 23/12/2016 at 03:18:14
28 Posted 23/12/2016 at 06:54:51
More concerning is the attitude of our manager. He has not only not given McCarthy any assurances about his future at Everton with rumours of his imminent departure but he has also sought to blame the Irish for the problems. If Koeman believed that McCarthy needed recuperation after his return from International duty he should have rested the players until he was fit. Instead he also played him so why go blaming somebody else?
This leads me to the most obvious point: Does our manager have man management problems??? McCarthy, Davies maybe others. Has he lost the dressing room already???
29 Posted 23/12/2016 at 08:27:58
30 Posted 23/12/2016 at 08:44:58
31 Posted 23/12/2016 at 09:20:43
I am less optimistic for 2017 than at the beginning of the season. It's just one drama after another. Sadly I feel for the fans who keep wishing for better things but continue to be disappointed.
Next is the January window that people will be hoping to be the beginning of yet another new dawn..... Yawn.
32 Posted 23/12/2016 at 13:09:27
33 Posted 23/12/2016 at 13:43:27
At the end of his first season, Martinez said we needed seven new players. I suspect most of us agreed with him. He didn't get his seven players, then 'lost' the ones he had to keep.
It seems pretty clear to me that Koeman doesn't rate most of what he inherited. And if it's clear to me, how clear is it to the players? When discussing Barkley's contract, the sentence that stuck out for me was "Let's see what happens in January." That suggests to me that he's anticipating some activity.
He's got my full support in his efforts to break up this squad. I do think he can get more out of what he's got, however average they are. If he doesn't bring new players in next month, he may have similar problems and ending as Martinez.
34 Posted 23/12/2016 at 13:50:20
As for Macca, well I always think the players have a big responsibility when it comes to their own bodies. James has never had the balls to tell O'Neill and Keane to piss off when he knows he's not fully recovered. He's partly to blame IMO.
35 Posted 23/12/2016 at 15:16:41
I will live in hope, however I feel very frustrated at every transfer window where so much is anticipated but so little delivered. Just like with Martinez, we had a very good start but in reality our start with Koeman was good only because the opposition were none of the top teams.
Let's see what January brings.
36 Posted 23/12/2016 at 16:33:14
If anyone cares to check through my backlog of posts, I've been a big supporter of James since he came here, but I am beginning to think his recurring injuries (admittedly attributed to the way he plays for us, all action) could spell the end of his Everton career.
That would be a pity as for all the attacking players we have, no-one has been more effective at breaking up attacks and protecting the back four over the last few seasons: he's like Carsley on speed, and his blossoming partnership helping to raise Gueye's game has been the only bright spot for months. Fingers crossed he's had all his bad luck and remains fit after New Year.
37 Posted 23/12/2016 at 16:44:15
We don't want a pussy like Sturridge who only plays when he's pain free but when players are forced to play when not fully recovered they need to be honest.
38 Posted 23/12/2016 at 18:59:27
I think he ain't good enough, even in his peaks offered little going forward; a midfielder needs to be able to do multiple things well.
If you think he's the real deal then surely his injury record suggests he has the touch of the Rodwells about him.
Bin him off to Palace or Celtic for Dembele.
39 Posted 23/12/2016 at 22:05:41
40 Posted 23/12/2016 at 22:19:18
Barry, Schneiderlin, Gana and Sissoko will be our midfield regulars.
41 Posted 23/12/2016 at 22:51:56
Looks unbalanced to me.
42 Posted 23/12/2016 at 22:53:05
43 Posted 23/12/2016 at 23:07:32
44 Posted 23/12/2016 at 23:11:06
John G, they (2 of them) would be our starting central MF I suppose.
Is he serious or are these mind games Patrick?
45 Posted 23/12/2016 at 23:31:51
I can't see how you could play the four of them in the same side.
46 Posted 24/12/2016 at 00:31:21
47 Posted 24/12/2016 at 07:57:39
Let's see what January brings.
48 Posted 24/12/2016 at 17:29:27
As obviously previously mentioned on these pages incessantly, time will tell!! I just know completely who I'd prefer and it isn't our so-called here we come Barco supporter!!!
49 Posted 25/12/2016 at 16:25:51
Have you seen how many times he has blamed the attackers, but only Barkley has been treated this way in public.