James McCarthy said it was an ‘honour’ to make his first Goodison Park start in Everton’s 3-2 victory over Newcastle United.
Roberto Martinez handed the midfielder his full league debut against the Magpies, having previously eased him back into top-flight action with cameos from the bench in the wins over London outfits Chelsea and West Ham United.
It was an opportunity McCarthy seized, with the Blues boss Martinez later toasting the ‘outstanding’ partnership he formed with another deadline day recruit, Gareth Barry.
The Republic of Ireland international himself admitted he revelled in the white hot Goodison atmosphere, fashioned by the Toffees’ outstanding first-half showing.
“It was brilliant to get out there in front of the home fans,” McCarthy told evertontv. “It’s what you dream of as a kid to come and play at such a big stadium like Goodison. The fans were different class and it was a real honour to get my first start, especially at home.
“Obviously there’s Gareth [Barry] in there alongside me and Ross [Barkley] just in front. I really enjoyed it but I still need to keep my head down and carry on working hard, because it still comes down to day-to-day basics.”
Next up for Everton is a challenging trip to the Etihad Stadium for the Premier League’s lunchtime kick-off this Saturday.
The last time McCarthy faced Manchester City he became an FA Cup winner as Wigan Athletic pulled off one of the biggest shocks in recent times by claiming a 1-0 win at Wembley back in May.
Now in Everton colours, the midfielder is targeting another victory against the Citizens this weekend – one which could put the Blues level on points with table-topping Arsenal.
“Now we need to kick on,” he continued. “It’s three important points [against Newcastle] and the unbeaten record is still going. We’re gelling as a squad and long may it continue.
“It’s where we want to be [fourth in the Premier League table] but it isn’t easy. Every game we will keep working hard.”
Tickets for this Saturday's match have sold out - but you can still watch all the action in the company of Evertonians by attending a screening of the game at Goodison.
Away screenings include allocated seating, a drink on arrival and a one-course hot meal. A booking is required - please call 0151 530 5250.