McCartney to recharge batteries for Euro push

PUBLISHED: 11:17 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG GEORGE McCartney believes West Ham can qualify for Europe next season if they can overcome the injury curse that dashed their UEFA Cup hopes this year. The Hammers spent the last six months of the season in the top half of the Premier L


GEORGE McCartney believes West Ham can qualify for Europe next season if they can overcome the injury curse that dashed their UEFA Cup hopes this year.

The Hammers spent the last six months of the season in the top half of the Premier League but failed to challenge the top six as a crippling casualty list took its toll.

McCartney was one of the few players to remain outside the treatment room, starting all 44 of the club's matches during the campaign while more than 20 of his team-mates spent time on the sick list.

The club's injury epidemic has since been examined by medical experts from Roehampton University in a bid to avoid a repeat next season.

And McCartney is convinced that solving the problem will allow the Hammers to build on their 10th-place finish and challenge for European football next year.

"The circumstances surrounding the injuries mean that this year was a massive improvement on last season, when we went to Old Trafford on the final day needing a win to stay up," said McCartney.

"If the injuries hadn't been so bad I think we'd have been challenging for Europe, but that wasn't the case.

"It's been a tough season - they're all good teams in the Premier League and we've managed to stay away from trouble so 10th place is not the worst place in the world to finish.

"Everyone is reasonably happy and we can have a couple of months off and then come back in pre-season with everybody fit and hopefully we can push on and finish higher up the table next year."

McCartney's consistent performances earned him the runner-up award in the club's player of the season contest, but he revealed that the end of the season had come as a relief.

The 27-year-old defender admits that started to feel the strain of his ever-present record this term in the final months of the campaign.

"It's been a long season so it was nice to pick up something recognising the hard work I've put in," he said.

"I've played 44 games this year and after about 35 I was feeling a bit tired, but it's great that I was able to get through all the games and compete in each one.

"I'm looking forward to a few weeks off now and re-charging my batteries."

Few Hammers fans would begrudge McCartney a summer of rest and relaxation following his efforts this season, but he admits there is little chance of putting his feet up for the next two months.

McCartney became a father for the second time when partner Elaine gave birth to a baby girl in March and he knows he faces a long summer of sleepless nights.

"I won't be having much rest myself as we've just had a new baby so I'll be spending most of my time with the family," he said.

"We don't have any plans to go abroad but we'll be heading back to Ireland and just enjoying spending time together.

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