The former Hamilton Academical midfielder arrived at Latics in the summer of 2009 and rapidly advanced from hot prospect to indispensable due to his versatility in the middle and dynamic style of play.
In Scotland he was used in more of an advanced role and in his final season at Hamilton he won the Scottish Premier League Young Player of Year, a fine way to say goodbye to a career at the club which spanned over 100 appearances and saw him help the team into the Scottish Premier League.
McCarthy’s time in Scotland also carved out a piece of history for Accies as he became the youngest player in the 21st century to play for the club when he made his debut as a substitute against Queen of the South in 2006 at the tender age of 15.
The move to Latics saw the Irish international adapt to Roberto Martinez’s style by being anchored as a central midfielder, a role which he cemented in the 2011/2012 season alongside former Hamilton team-mate James McArthur.
McCarthy’s first Latics goal came against Wolverhampton Wanderers in January 2010 in a 2-0 victory and arguably his finest display came just over a year later in February 2011 when he netted a brace in the 4-3 spectacular against Blackburn Rovers at the DW Stadium.
Despite being born in Glasgow, the midfielder followed his Irish roots and represented the Republic of Ireland at under 17, 18, 19 and 21 level before claiming his first full international cap in a March 2011 European Championship Qualifier against FYROM.