Roberto Martinez is set to reward midfielder James McCarthy with an improved contract in a bid to ward off the increasing list of admirers who have watched the youngster’s impressive debut season in the English top flight.
McCarthy joined Wigan last July for a reported fee of around £1.2 million from SPL side Hamilton Academical, choosing Martinez’ side over Wolves who had also courted his services.
The Republic of Ireland international was slowly introduced into the first team, making only a brief appearance at the end of August, coming on as a substitute against Manchester United at the DW Stadium , and then his first start four days later as his new side crashed out of the Carling Cup at Blackpool – with McCarthy’s performance one of the few positives to come from the 4-1 reversal.
Wigan fans were left waiting until the turn of the year before they next saw him turn out for the senior squad and the flame-haired teenager hasn’t looked back since.
His first goal in a Wigan shirt came just after the hour mark as Wigan dispatched Premier League rivals Hull City in FA Cup Third Round and that was followed up by a second, two weeks later, as Wolves were defeated 2-0 at Molineux.
The 19-year-old went onto make a total of 24 appearances for Latics in his first season and capped off a memorable campaign with a call up to the senior Republic of Ireland squad in March when he made his debut for Giovanni Trapattoni’s side in a friendly against Brazil at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.