Alex McCarthy On The Verge Of A New 3 Year Contract For Saints
Friday, 12th Nov 2021 10:16
According to media reports Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy is about to sign a new 3 year contract at St Mary's, but will he still be first choice keeper next season ? That is the big question.
Alex McCarthy is said to be on the verge of signing a new deal at St Mary's the 3 year contract will take him through to the summer of 2025 with the club, however although he has emerged as the first choice this season, he has never completed a season at the club where he has been the undisputed number 1 for a whole season, so the big question is whether this could be the first season he will have managed that since arriving at Southampton in August 2016.
McCarthy will turn 32 at the start of next month and from this perspective is not the future of Saints goalkeeping in anything other than the short term, during a long career that started at Reading although his League debut came on loan at Aldershot in 2008/09 season, he has spent much time out on loan and has in that period only spent two seasons as undisputed number 1 at a club, the first of those came in 2009/10 when he was on loan at Yeovil, in that season he ironically missed the game at St Mary's against Saints due to suspension, but Saints fans may remember the last minute goal he conceded up at Yeovil when Lee Barnard scored an injury time winner to keep Saints faint play off hopes alive.
The only other season he saw through from August to May was 2013/14 at Reading.
When he joined Saints in 2016 from Crystal Palace it was a back up to Fraser Forster and in his first season he did not play a Premier League game for the club, he made his Premier League debut for Saints in 2017/18 when with Saints struggling under Mauricio Pellegrino he came into the side at the end of December as Saints earned a hard fought point at Old Trafford in a 0-0 draw.
He kept his place and in the main was steady, however it has to be said that in the final run in as Saints tried to retrieve what looked an impossible situation where relegation looked certain he was magnificent especially in the penultimate game at Swansea City where he played a full part in a 1-0 win that all but guaranteed safety.
He started the following season as number 1, but with Saints again struggling under Mark Hughes he was not convincing and when Ralph Hasenhuttl arrived his form was inconsitent & patchy and in the February he was dropped and Angus Gunn came into the side and held his place to the end of the season.
In 2019/20 Gunn started as first choice but was dropped after that defeat against Leicester City and back came McCarthy for the rest of the season.
1920/21 could have been the season he held the spot throughout, but he was was at best steady and as Saints started to drop down the table, he found himself replaced by Fraser Forster, although bizarrely he did play a few games at the end of the season as Ralph rotated his keepers.
This season many thought that Fraser Forster would start the season, but Ralph Hasenhuttl stuck with Alex, initially that looked a mistake, but he did settle down and get some form, Forster's performance at Chelsea in the league cup prompted some to suggest that he should be back as number 1, but McCarthy still holds the spot.
But can he hold it all season that is the question and one to which the answer has usually been no, with rumours that Saints could make a move for Sam Johnstone of West Brom in January, his time could be limited as first choice again.
In reality he has been at St Mary's what he has always been throughout his career, a good back up keeper and turning 32 in a matter of weeks it is hard to see him being anything else at Saints.
That is not to disparage him, all teams need a keeper like Alex, someone who can come in when needed and do a job and he has most certainly done that at various times, but overall it is perhaps a lack of consistency and concentration over a prolonged spell of games that has prevented him being a goalkeeper who can truly be the undisputed number one at a club.
Including that season at Yeovil he has played 12 full seasons totalling around 500 League games, in that period he has played in just under half of that total, at St Mary's it is a similar position but he has in total played 112 Premier League games out of 201 possible.
Securing him for another 3 years will be a good move for Saints, as long as they can sign a keeper who can truly play 38 games a season in the Premier League to the standard required.
This is not a dig at Alex McCarthy he has been a good servant to the club and has done a lot more than we would have expected from him when we signed him for a minimal fee in 2016, he has been good value.
But his value is as a good back up and that is the case for several other members of our squad, just because I don't think they are good enough to be nailed on first choices, does not mean I think they are bad players, I just think that if we are to survive and prosper in the Premier league then we need better ones.
But you can only play 11 players in a game and you need at least twice that in contention if you are to prosper, the strength of Saints this season is that they have strengthened the squad and therefore in games we are now bringing on experienced professionals off the bench, many of who were first choice at times in the past two years, but have now been surpassed by better players coming in.
That is the case with Alex McCarthy, he has done a reasonable job for us and hopefully will continue to do so.
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
When Saturday Comes #16 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and this time instead of an international break we played yesterday evening, and now have the luxury of sitting back and seeing what’s going to happen around us in the league table. A gritty display last night saw the U’s fight back from a being a goal down, with Freddy netting his 8th of the season, helped in no small measure by an inch-perfect through ball from Alan Judge. Whisper it, but with (at least) 30 competitive matches to go to the end of the season, Freddy’s average of 0.4 goals per game would actually see him reach that mythical ’20 goals per season’ figure – not bad for an Ipswich reject 😊.
When Saturday Comes #15 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and finally the U’s return to the league programme after what seems an age as a result of our international break. The Forest Green match has been rearranged for 21st December, the last Tuesday before Xmas, and it will no doubt be a chilly night on top of the hill overlooking Nailsworth. Originally billed as a 7pm kick-off, it seems to have been pushed back to 7.45pm now – better make sure before I set off on the short drive for that one. Talking of short drives, bravo to our U18s winning 2-0 at Swindon in the FA Youth Cup midweek, to set up a mouth-watering home tie against Arsenal in the 3rd Round.
When Saturday Comes #14 by wessex_exile
This week, When Saturday Comes the U’s find themselves on an international break and a weekend off for the WAGs to get in some Christmas shopping. Just as well too, given the U’s have inconsiderately eased past AFC Sudbury to deny them the customary FA Cup Second Round break in December to do likewise. We wait to hear who our opponent will be at the JobServe – it’ll be either top of League One Wigan Athletic or Cameron Coxe’s National League parent club Solihull Moors, who replay at Damson Park on Tuesday evening. Incidentally, Solihull Moors may be part of history being made today, with their match at Meadow Lane already expected to easily top 10,000, and may break the record attendance for that league, which currently stands at 11,083 when Bristol Rovers faced Alfreton Town in 2015.
When Saturday Comes #13 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes…will we still be in the FA Cup? I heard somewhere during the week that the U’s have been eliminated from the FA Cup by non-league opposition more times than any other league club! Remarkable really when you consider that many non-U’s associate Colchester United with the greatest FA Cup giant-killing of all time. Following tonight, we travel to Portman Road on Tuesday night to see if we can stay in the Pizza Slice Trophy. Regardless that it is a much-maligned competition these days, surely that’s motivation enough for our tractor boy contingent?
When Saturday Comes #12 by wessex_exile
A relegation six-pointer already, seriously! Grim news so early in a season which had such promise, but that may well turn out to be the reality when the dust settles in May. On the eve of All-Hallows Eve, I’m wondering whether the U’s will have served up Trick or Treat by 5pm this afternoon. Plenty has been written over the last week by supporters, the press, even the Chairman about the protests during and after the Sutton United rocky horror football show, and whilst everyone has the right to voice their opinion on the club’s fortunes on and off the pitch, that doesn’t give anyone (even the Chairman) the right to be abusive – it’s not big, it’s not clever, and if anything it undermines the validity of that opinion.
[ Vote here ]