Alex McLeish has expressed his surprise amid suggestions that Celtic’s James McCarthy is ‘struggling with the intensity of training’.
The Athletic’s Kieran Devlin revealed earlier this month that, according to ‘dressing-room sources’, McCarthy was finding it difficult to cope with the demands placed upon him behind the scenes.
He joined the Glasgow outfit on a free transfer during the summer after reaching the end of his contract at Crystal Palace.
The 30-year-old made his first Scottish Premiership start in the 1-0 defeat at Livingston and, in the words of Devlin, looked ‘incredibly awkward’.
But Ange Postecoglou kept faith with McCarthy for Sunday’s home draw against Dundee United, only for him to be forced off at half time after suffering a knock.
McLeish, the former Scotland boss, says he’s never come across a player who finds training too demanding.
He’s urged Celtic not to ‘physically flog’ the Irishman if they want to get the best out of him on matchdays.
“It surprises me to hear he’s struggling in training,” he told Football Insider.
“I have never heard of players struggling with the intensity of training.
“McCarthy is not a young player anymore and when you sign a player like that you have to manage him right. You have to do your due diligence with the sport science guys.
“If you want the best out of him on a weekend you cannot physically flog him during the week. You don’t want to tire him out otherwise he won’t be able to last long at the weekend.
“I’m a little surprised they gave him a four-year deal.
“They need to manage him now. It will be interesting to see how many minutes he plays this season.”
It certainly doesn’t bode well that the wisdom of Celtic’s business is already being questioned. It’s only September.
This was apparently a signing neither Postecoglou nor the scouting department requested. Instead, it seems like club officials thought the opportunity to sign an experienced midfielder from the English Premier League for free was too good to turn down.
But did they stop to consider whether he’d be a remotely good fit? Perhaps not, and the fact he simply cannot seem to stay fit with the demands placed upon him by the manager is a huge concern.
In other news, McLeish picked out this man as a ‘big loss’ for Celtic.
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