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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Thursday, 9 October 2008 15:07 UK

McCarthy rebuffs Scots approach

James McCarthy
McCarthy says he is sticking with the Republic of Ireland

Hamilton Academical midfielder James McCarthy has told the Scottish FA he will not be switching his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.

Scotland Under-21s manager Billy Stark had asked if the 17-year-old could be persuaded to change his mind.

But Stark told BBC Sport: "Billy Reid, the Hamilton manager, called me on Wednesday to say James would be sticking with Ireland.

"We have to respect his decision and wish him all the best."

McCarthy, born in Scotland but who has a Donegal-born grandfather, has already represented Ireland at Under-17, 18 and 21 levels but still has the opportunity to change allegiances.

''We had made discrete inquiries about the player," said Stark.

"After George Burley became national manager, we decided to pursue the matter delicately.

"We wouldn't have pursued the matter if we didn't think he was capable of having a career at international level.

''But he's decided at an early age to represent Ireland and we have to respect that decision.''

I am very happy that he has publicly stated his commitment to Ireland and, having worked with James, I was never under any doubt of that commitment

Republic of Ireland U21 manager Don Givens

McCarthy has been quoted as saying that he was flattered by Scotland's interest but that he did not want to embarrass himself by changing from a country that had treated him well.

Meanwhile, McCarthy has been withdrawn from the Republic's U21 squad for the upcoming match with Lithuania.

"I have decided to withdraw James from the squad because after talking to him I feel that he needs a rest," manager Don Givens told the Football Association of Ireland website.

"I am very happy that he has publicly stated his commitment to Ireland and, having worked with James, I was never under any doubt of that commitment.

"I now hope that James can be left to concentrate on football and that this issue can be put behind us."

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see also
McCarthy would like English move
16 Jun 08 |  Hamilton
Reid blast at Scots over McCarthy
14 Jan 07 |  Hamilton


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