Goal­keeper Alex Mc­carthy ready to seize lat­est op­por­tu­nity with Eng­land

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - LOCAL SPORT -

Alex Mc­Carthy is de­ter­mined to make sure it is third time lucky with Eng­land by grab­bing this op­por­tu­nity to im­press Gareth South­gate.

Like so many of the Three Lions squad, the 28-year-old had to dig deep and fight to make it onto the in­ter­na­tional stage.

From loan spells in non­league to long stretches as back-up, Mc­Carthy's pa­tience, de­ter­mi­na­tion and ta­lent are now be­ing re­warded at Southamp­ton.

Hav­ing re­placed Fraser Forster in De­cem­ber, the goal­keeper played such a key role in sav­ing Saints from rel­e­ga­tion that he was voted the club's player of the sea­son by both fans and team-mates.

Such form has seen Mc­Carthy handed a third Eng­land call-up, with Jor­dan Pickford, Jack But­land and sur­prise late ad­di­tion Mar­cus Bet­tinelli pro­vid­ing the com­pe­ti­tion in South­gate's squad.

"I wouldn't say it puts more pres­sure on me," the Saints goal­keeper said of Bet­tinelli swelling the goal­keep­ing ranks on Tues­day.

"I think, at the end of the day, I sort of con­cen­trate on what I've got to do.

"Ob­vi­ously I've been called up for a rea­son and there's now four of us here, but it's a time for me to go out there and prove what I can do.

"We're away for seven or eight days, so it's enough time to sort of show him what I can do.

"And at the end of the day, I want to give him a de­ci­sion to make.

"Ob­vi­ously it's an un­be­liev­able feel­ing to be back here.

"I've been in two squads be­fore but that was quite a while ago, so ob­vi­ously after the World Cup and every­thing that has gone on it's been a pos­i­tive for English foot­ball.

"It's nice to be back in­volved and a part of it."

Roy Hodg­son gave Mc­Carthy a first taste of life with Eng­land in May 2013 after im­press­ing at Read­ing, be­fore he was then sur­pris­ingly called into Sam Al­lardyce's only squad two years ago fol­low­ing an in­jury to Forster.

The 28-year-old still re­mains un­capped, though, and is dream­ing of mak­ing his de­but in ei­ther the Na­tions League opener against Spain to­mor­row Satur­day at 20.45 or the friendly meet­ing with Switzer­land on Tues­day Septem­ber 11 at 21.00.

"We have had a pos­i­tive start to the sea­son (at Southamp­ton) and to get the call-up was the cherry on the top," Mc­Carthy said.

"Ob­vi­ously it will be a very proud mo­ment for me and my fam­ily.

"When you are grow­ing up as a kid, all you want to do is play foot­ball and rep­re­sent your coun­try.

"If I do get my chance, I know I will take it. I will be over­whelmed."

It would be quite the oc­ca­sion for Mc­Carthy, who spent time at the likes of Team Bath and Alder­shot dur­ing eight loan spells away from Read­ing.

The 28-year-old failed to make a mark at ei­ther QPR or Crys­tal Palace when he moved on, but fine dis­plays at St Mary's have pro­vided the plat­form to join a group that he watched shine at the World Cup.

Mc­Carthy was im­pressed by Eng­land's dis­plays and is confident that he has the abil­ity on the ball that South­gate likes to see from goal­keep­ers.

"It's a part of my game where I feel com­fort­able," he added.

"Ob­vi­ously a lot of man­agers now like the play to start from the back. It's an area that I've worked on in my game for a while now, so it'd be an area I'd be com­fort­able in do­ing.

"I think the way that foot­ball is go­ing now, it's a mas­sive part of the game so you'e got to be able to do that."

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