James McCarthy says support from the Goodison Park terraces has been a key factor behind the excellent start he has made to his Everton career.
The Republic of Ireland international arrived from Wigan Athletic in September with the weight of a £13million price tag on his shoulders.
But he has already shown through tenacious, all-action displays that he was in no way fazed by the fee his services commanded.
Such has been the impact McCarthy has made in his first six months on Merseyside, this week he was named in the top four when the results of an evertonfc.com poll asking fans to name their player of the season so far were announced.
This popularity provides further encouragement for the 23-year-old who insists he still has a lot to prove.
“I’m loving life here and the fans have been brilliant to me,” McCarthy said to evertontv. “I always believed I could come here and play games. You need to have a bit of that in you, to be honest, to go and prove you can go and play for a club the size of Everton.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that it would be tough, and I had to bide my time at first to get into the team. It’s brilliant to be playing.
“At first it was tough because it was a lot of money, to be honest. Obviously the gaffer believed in me though, came back to Wigan for me and paid the money.
“When I came here I wanted to prove that I could play in front of good fans for a massive club. I just need to keep working hard on and off the pitch because there is still a long way to go.”
McCarthy netted 15 times for his first professional club, Hamilton, and contributed eight more goals during his time with Wigan Athletic.
He is yet to open his Goodison Park account but senses a first is just around the corner.
“You want to get on the scoresheet and coming to a new club you want that first goal as soon as possible,” he said. “A couple of times there have been flashes but I’m doing my position for the team, which is working with the back lads.
“If I can get forward and get my name on the scoresheet then I would be delighted with that, but the main thing is that we are doing well as a club.
“The manager wants me to get forward, get into the box and make late runs. It’s been difficult to get on the scoresheet but as a squad we are doing well. I won’t lose any sleep but hopefully the goals will come.”
The midpoint of the season has only just passed but McCarthy has already racked up a staggering 31 appearances for club and country this term.
He credits a tailored training plan and the nous of manager Martinez for helping him get through such a demanding workload.
He continued: “I think with the training here and the international games, the manager looks after you and makes sure you are not doing too much, especially on a day-to-day basis leading up to the games. To be honest, I’m feeling fine.
“You want to play as much as you can and I’m no different to any other player. Hopefully there are many more games to come.”
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