Eligible to play for either Scotland, the country of his birth, or the Republic of Ireland, James McCarthy opted for the latter and represented the nation at several youth levels before making his senior debut in March 2010. The gifted young midfielder plays in England for Wigan Athletic FC.
• Born and bred in Glasgow, he was rejected by Celtic FC as a youngster and launched his career in the Scottish second tier with Hamilton Academical FC, making his debut on 30 September 2006 while still only 15.
• Became Hamilton's youngest goalscorer − aged 16 years, 55 days − when he found the net in a Scottish Cup tie against Livingston FC, and proved to be a major figure in the club's First Division title success in 2007/08.
• Adapted quickly to the Scottish Premier League and was voted Scotland's Young Player of the Year by his fellow professionals after making 37 appearances and scoring six goals in 2008/09.
• Joined English Premier League club Wigan in summer of 2009 and the following March earned his first senior cap for Ireland − in a friendly against Brazil − to add to his recognition at every youth level from Under-17 to U21; his competitive debut came as a late substitute in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier at home to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 26 March 2011.
• Helped Wigan narrowly avoid relegation in 2010/11, starting 24 Premier League matches and scoring three goals − despite missing three months of the season through injury.