Alex McCarthy reflects on 'unbelievable' England call-up

Alex McCarthy reflects on 'unbelievable' England call-up

Within eight months, the shot-stopper has become first-choice goalkeeper at Southampton and is now among the England set-up.

Ryan White

This time last year, 28-year-old Alex McCarthy probably envisaged himself sitting on the Southampton bench for the foreseeable future, however, his career is finally heading in the right direction - 11 years after making his professional debut at the age of 17. 

Fraser Forster, a player who seemingly solidified his place in the starting eleven at St. Mary's, but a turn for the worse in his performances saw Mauricio Pellegrino switch to McCarthy as the club starred relegation in the face.

Now, under the influence of Mark Hughes, the ex-Reading youngster is thriving down on the south coast and his impressive efforts has seen England boss Gareth Southgate name him in the national team for this month's friendlies. 

''I've been called up for a reason''

Alex McCarthy is enjoying his third spell inside the Three Lions' senior squad; previously being called up five years ago by Roy Hodgson and then again in Sam Allardyce's abruptly short tenure as England manager.

Although, the Saints goalkeeper faces stiff competition with the arrival of Fulham's man between the sticks, Marcus Bettinelli into training, alongside World Cup hero and number one Jordan Pickford - plus Stoke City 'keeper Jack Butland.

McCarthy is, however, relishing the competition at international level, saying: "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 (Southgate) what I can do.''

The former England under-21 goalkeeper has developed through eight loan stints during his professional career, tallied three caps with the national team at youth level, and has appeared to have settled down having signed for the Saints in the summer of 2016 - and penned a four-year deal last campaign to cement his spot in Hughes' side.

Ending on his relief to be called-up, McCarthy stated: "It's nice to be back involved and a part of it."


Always improving

Southampton fans had to endure the frustrating defensive tactics rallied by Pellegrino last campaign, which nearly saw the club drop to the Championship, but Hughes has somewhat improved the attacking intent of this team and even the goalkeepers at St. Mary's are feeling the benefits.

"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,'' added McCarthy.

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

McCarthy will be aiming to make his England debut as the Three Lions face Spain and Switzerland during this international break before the Saints return to action next weekend against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Quotes courtesy of Daily Echo