Right-back praised for recent form...Jon Whitney believes right-back Jason McCarthy is a better player now than when he first arrived at the club.
The Southampton loanee has been in outstanding form of late and was yesterday named the PFA Fans’ League One Player of the Month for January after scoring three goals in four games.
The 21-year-old has started February in a similar vein, producing a man-of-the-match display – and playing a key role in the winning goal – as we beat Northampton 2-1 last weekend.
McCarthy has played every minute for the Saddlers this season, and Whitney has been delighted with the progress he has made.
“Jason has got better at all aspects of his game,” said Whitney. “His work-rate and belief are fantastic.
“I think he will openly admit that he had areas tactically to work on, and sometimes you can be over keen.
“But now he is working out when to press, when to cover. His distances have improved massively.
“He also understands that wing-back role. He has played at centre-half and right-back – and it can only be a positive that he has played in all those positions.
“He wants to play every minute, and he is doing really well. He came through a couple of rough patches, but we stuck with him.
“But only because he had the resilience and he never pulled away from it. He didn’t show me any signs he wanted to be rested.
“I knew that if I kept playing him, he would get the confidence that I believe in him.
“And if you get a player who has got that confidence then that’s what happens. He believes now he can out run anyone in this league.”
McCarthy’s energetic performances haven’t gone unnoticed by his teammates, with midfielder Flo Cuvelier backing him to have a good career.
“I think Jason can reach the top,” Cuvelier commented.
“He’s such a keen player. He’s full of energy, good on the ball and powerful. The sky is the limit for him.
"He can go and achieve whatever he wants because he is a very good player.”