By Kevin Phillips

27th Sep, 2021 | 7:54am

Pundit 'surprised' by 'unheard-of' McCarthy reveal as Celtic problems intensify

Kevin Phillips “is surprised” by James McCarthy’s struggles at Celtic after the midfielder was withdrawn at half time against Dundee United.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the 2000 European Golden Shoe winner urged Ange Postecoglou to not “physically flog” the 30-year-old in training during the week.

McCarthy started Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Dundee United but was replaced by Ismaila Soro at the interval having suffered a knock.

According to The Athletic (September 20th), the Republic of Ireland international has struggled with the pace and intensity of training at Lennoxtown since his arrival.

The Hoops signed McCarthy on a four-year deal in the summer following the expiration of his contract at Crystal Palace.

Phillips questioned the length of contract handed to player.

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“It surprises me to hear he’s struggling in training,” he told Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs.

“I have never heard of players struggling with the intensity of training.

“McCarthy is not a young player anymore and when you sign a player like that you have to manage him right. You have to do your due diligence with the sport science guys.

“If you want the best out of him on a weekend you cannot physically flog him during the week. You don’t want to tire him out otherwise he won’t be able to last long at the weekend.

“I’m a little surprised they gave him a four-year deal.

“They need to manage him now. It will be interesting to see how many minutes he plays this season.”

In other news, a pundit has suggested tension is rising among players at Celtic after the latest on Giakoumakis.