sport

McCarthy ‘part of the family’

James McCarthy is enjoying life at Everton after settling in quickly last season and is excited about the competition for places in midfield.

McCarthy made the move to Goodison Park from Wigan Athletic last summer and admits he did feel under pressure to perform, but the supporters and his team-mates helped him to adjust.

Speculation has surfaced of possible interest from Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, but McCarthy is happy at Everton and keen to have another strong season.

\"The fans have been brilliant with me since day one. It wasn't easy coming to a big club like this and trying to adapt but at least I knew the style of play,\" said the 23-year-old in the Liverpool Echo.

\"The size of the club though meant there was always going to be pressure, but I've settled in and everyone made me feel so welcome.

\"I'm enjoying life here. I feel part of the family. It's a real family club and it's great to be involved in. It's been a year since I came but it feels a lot longer than that.\"

McCarthy is particularly looking forward to renewing his midfield partnership with Gareth Barry, who has signed on a permanent deal after a successful spell on loan from Manchester City.

He is not taking his place in the side for granted, though, with Darron Gibson fit again after a long-term injury and Muhamed Besic already making a positive impression following his arrival from Ferencvaros.

He said: \"Me and Gaz loved playing in the middle of the park last season. He was brilliant to work with and I'm excited he's stayed. He's an experienced head and talks away to you both on and off the pitch.

\"There's competition there now. We've got Gibbo (Darren Gibson) coming back and the new boy Muhamed (Besic) looks like a good player.

\"We'll need that competition with the new season coming and so many games. We'll all have to be on our toes with so many talented boys ready to come in and do a job.

\"But I think we can still develop as a partnership. It's a new season and there's always something different to come.\"