James McCarthy can grow into a key man for Crystal Palace, but patience is required after injury.

The midfielder featured for Palace’s under-23s in a friendly against Birmingham City on Monday, which eventually ended in a 1-1 draw.

Speaking to reporters, Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has talked up his namesake’s move to Selhurst Park:

James has had a terrible time with injury so getting game time now is vital for him. What was important was that he played.

I know one of the reasons James wanted to move from Everton was to get more football after playing so little last season following his injury.

These are only baby steps for him but he is back now and looking forward to a new start with Palace. I sat beside Roy Hodgson for the game and I know from talking to Roy just how happy he is to have signed James for Palace.

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Fortunately, Roy Hodgson is in a position where there is no need to rush McCarthy into the first team reckoning.

The likes of Luka Milivojevic, James McArthur and Max Meyer are all key men, while new signing Victor Camarasa will also hope to feature prominently.

Having suffered a broken leg at Everton in 2018, the last thing McCarthy needs is to be thrown into the side when he isn’t ready, either risking another injury or proving to be well off the pace.

When the 28-year-old is fit and firing, he is an excellent box-to-box midfielder, but Palace may have to accept that they won’t see that version of him for a while.

Will McCarthy be a key man for Crystal Palace this season?