Having spent the past five seasons on loan at clubs as far afield as Leeds,
Ipswich and Bath, the 22-year-old Guildford-born goalkeeper produced the
performance of a lifetime to extended
Continuing to deputise for the injured Adam Federici, McCarthy took his opportunity with both hands and, at times, both feet. Having denied Danny Graham and Wayne Routledge in a first half that saw Reading establish a two-goal lead thanks to goals from Pavel Pogrebnyak and Noel Hunt, he pulled off four more remarkable saves after the interval.
His efforts were not enough to earn Reading a first victory of the
“It was disappointing not to win, but I was pleased with the way things went for me,” said McCarthy, who has already been capped at Under-21 level. His next step could be to join John Ruddy and Jack Butland in the international squad as understudies for Joe Hart. A long-term ambition it might be, but on the evidence of Saturday’s display, the 6ft 4in goalkeeper has taken a giant stride in the right direction.
“There are a lot of quality English keepers out there, so we will have to wait and see what happens,” said McCarthy. “I will just keep doing my thing and hopefully I will get there one day.”
Manager Brian McDermott was suitably impressed with a performance that earned Reading a valuable away point. “He has a lot of potential and has really shown how much he wants to stay in the team,” he said.
“I thought he was first class today. He needed to be, because Swansea were very dangerous. Some of his saves were excellent.”
In the end,
Manager Michael Laudrup was far from disgruntled with the outcome but warned that his side would need to show greater awareness in defence, if this season is to be anywhere near as good as last. “I don’t have a problem winning 3-2 or 5-4, but I think conceding an average of two goals a game is a bit much.
“If the average is two, then you have to score two just to get a point or three to win and in this league, that’s too much to expect.”
In front of Ryder Cup hero Sergio García, who has spent the week celebrating in Swansea with his sister and her partner, Pablo Hernández, Swansea might have won the game if a late penalty appeal had not been turned down.