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 By Mike Whalley

James McCarthy 'staying at Everton'

LIVERPOOL -- Everton midfielder James McCarthy will be staying at the club despite reported interest from Manchester United, according to manager Roberto Martinez.

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The Republic of Ireland international indicated in an interview with the Evening Standard on July 29 that he would be open to a move to Old Trafford.

However, he then told the Liverpool Echo on Aug. 5 that he felt "part of the family" at Goodison Park, and was fully focused on helping Everton's bid to improve on last season's fifth-placed Premier League finish.

Martinez suggested last week that McCarthy, who arrived from Wigan Athletic for 13 million pounds in September 2013, was in line to get an improved contract after impressing last season. And the Everton boss expects the 23-year-old to stay at the club for the long-term.

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He told a news conference: "For me, James McCarthy is one of the best midfielders in the league.

"I don't get surprised if other teams send good footballing compliments. But in terms of his future, it's clearly with Everton, and it's an exciting one."

With Muhamed Besic arriving from Ferencvaros, Gareth Barry making his loan move from Manchester City permanent and Darron Gibson on the way back from cruciate knee ligament damage sustained on international duty with Republic of Ireland last October, Martinez is well stocked for central midfielders heading into the new season.

The Toffees boss added: "I think we've got very good midfielders at the club. You saw last season that James had a really good partnership with Gareth Barry.

"When James and Darron Gibson played together with Republic of Ireland, they showed great understanding, and linked up with each other very well.

"I think Mo Besic brings something different into that equation as well, so we've got really good competition for places at the moment. All different players bring different things to different partnerships. It's an exciting part of the pitch, really, that midfield area."

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