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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 December, 2004, 14:30 GMT
McCartney Everton switch denied
George McCartney
McCartney has played over 100 league games for Sunderland
Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy has denied reports that defender George McCartney could be on his way to Premiership side Everton.

McCarthy has guided the Black Cats to third place in the Championship and does not want any players to leave.

He was adamant the 23-year-old Northern Ireland international would stay on.

"He signed a new contract at the end of last season and the focus for all of us should be to reach the Premiership with Sunderland," said McCarthy.

"I am delighted with George's performances and pleased that people are interested in him , if they are, because it means he is playing well," added McCarthy.

"But he is not going anywhere. I am trying to build a squad here of good young players.

I have dismantled one squad and I do not want to start dismantling another
Mick McCarthy
"I do not know what clubs are looking at him, but Sunderland as a club are as good as any in the Premier League and better than a lot.

"But what we do not have is a place in the Premier League.

"For now and for the rest of the season, there should not be thoughts for him or anyone of going anywhere."

Players like McCartney and Argentinian midfielder Julio Arca are among the club's biggest assets on the playing side and McCarthy, who saw 23 members of his squad sold following the drop into the Football League, is determined to hang on to them.

However, he knows that things could change again if his side does not clinch promotion at the second attempt.

"If it turns out that we are not in the Premier League next season, then if players like George are still interesting people, it might be time to reconsider for the club and for the individual," he told the club's official website.

"But I have dismantled one squad when I came here and I do not want to start dismantling another."

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