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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

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kingolaf added 14:31 - Nov 12
He’s played well this seasons to be fair. Forster has improved as well.

With Forster out of contract soon, we should be looking for some more competition between the sticks.

IanRC added 16:07 - Nov 12
I think all considered FF would be a better first choice but I suspect his financial deal is the stumbling block to a renewal. To be fair McCarthy has generally been good this season.

ElijahK added 18:45 - Nov 12
Certainly deserves it with hoe he’s been this season, only time he’s messed up to my memory was against Burnley for their second, and even then it was a decent goal and wasn’t just his fault. Still whether he stays as our Number 1 after January or not, and whether he knows about that before he renews his contract or not, certainly will be interesting.

UgandaSaint added 22:15 - Nov 13
ElijahK, your memory doesn't go back as far as the first game of the season against Everton, when an average Premiership keeper would have prevented 2 of the Everton goals.

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