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Why Everton must not let this 26-year-old leave in January

By Emma Sanders

Everton cannot let James McCarthy leave in January because his aggression is a quality the squad lacks in midfield.

The 26-year-old is believed to want a move away from Goodison Park in January and a number of clubs are reportedly interested, including Celtic and Aston Villa.

However, the Republic of Ireland international can still play a key role in Koeman’s side and the Dutchman should persuade him to stay in the transfer window period.

McCarthy was one of Everton’s best players in the dramatic late 2-1 victory against Arsenal on Tuesday evening and he showed why he can offer something different in midfield.

In his second successive league start, McCarthy produced a workman-like display and was everywhere for the Blues in midfield, breaking down play and disrupting the rhythm of the Arsenal players.

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He can be aggressive, putting in blocks and interceptions and isn’t afraid to get in the faces of his opponents, which is something the Everton side lacks in many departments.

Phil Jagielka is often preferred at centre-back for the same reason and McCarthy’s role in the team on Tuesday was crucial to Everton’s victory.

He has made just five league starts this season but he could add a few more to his tally before the end of the year based on recent form.

If Everton want to compete for a European spot, they will need players like McCarthy in the side to cause problems for the creative players in the rival squads.

In other Everton news, this is why the Blues should target Saido Berahino in January.