James McCarthy has thanked departing Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni for playing a key role in his transfer deadline day move to Everton.
McCarthy said he was “gutted” to learn that Trapattoni had left his job by mutual consent on Wednesday morning, hours after a 1-0 defeat on Austria effectively ended Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
The Italian spent five years as Ireland manager, leading them to a qualifying play-off for the 2010 World Cup -- where they were beaten by France -- and then securing a place at Euro 2012, where they lost all three group stage games.
Trapattoni allowed McCarthy to report 24 hours late for international duty last week so that he could complete a £13 million move to Everton from Wigan.
The midfielder, 22, revealed that he only knew for certain that he was moving to Goodison Park just 10 minutes before the 11pm transfer deadline on Sept. 2, and he feels that the move might not have gone through without Trapattoni’s help.
McCarthy said: “I spoke to him last week, and he said it was no bother -- and that I was just to report on Tuesday morning first thing. He said: ‘I hope everything goes well for you.’
“I’m thankful to him to be honest, that he allowed that to happen. At lot of managers would have said: ‘No, no. We want you in and you can fly over [to complete the deal].’ And because the move happened at such short notice, it might not have happened. So that’s a big thank you to him.
“It was very hectic. At times, it goes through your head that the move might not happen. It got to 10.30pm, and I thought: ‘Is it going to happen? Is it not?’ It was touch and go all night. It was such a late deal -- and thankfully, it went through about 10.50pm.”
Ireland were in strong contention for a play-off spot in European Group C, but last Friday’s 2-1 home defeat against Sweden, followed by the loss in Austria, left them with only the slimmest mathematical chance.
Asked about Trapattoni’s exit, McCarthy said: “I’m gutted. He was a good manager. I enjoyed working under him. It’s a blow to all the players and I’m sure he won’t be out of the game for long.
“I didn’t expect it to happen. You just look at his record -- how well he’s done for Ireland. He got us to the Euros. He fell just short against France in the qualifiers for the last World Cup. We were in good contention to qualify this time, but unfortunately we slipped up on Friday night, and then last night we conceded a late, late goal.
“I’m disappointed to see him go. It’s one of those things. The FAI have had a meeting today and have decided it’s the time for him to go.”