Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has backed James McCarthy to return to the international fold after watching the midfielder's first appearance for new club Crystal Palace.
McCarthy, who lives in nearby Bromley, was at Selhurst Park to watch James McCarthy line out for the Palace Under 23 side, as they played out a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City on Monday.
The midfielder played just 20 minutes of senior football last season after recovering from a horrific broken leg, and is looking to get his career back on track following his £8million move from Everton. He made his last international appearance in October 2016.
Palace boss Roy Hodgon was also in attendance, and will be hoping to have McCarthy pushing for a place in the senior side soon. McCarthy was not the only Irish player involved, with Dublin born goalkeeper Stephen Henderson playing the full 90 minutes and U19 midfielder Kian Flanagan coming on as a late substitute.
Mick McCarthy is due to name his squad for the 5 September Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland on Friday.
"It was good just to see James out there for 90 minutes on a football pitch," said the Ireland manager.
"James has had a terrible time with injury so getting game time now is vital for him. What was important was that he played. I know one of the reasons James wanted to move from Everton was to get more football after playing so little last season following his injury.
"These are only baby steps for him but he is back now and looking forward to a new start with Palace. I sat beside Roy Hodgson for the game and I know from talking to Roy just how happy he is to have signed James for Palace.
"Roy is really looking forward to working with James at Palace and so am I with Ireland. I've kept in touch with James over the summer and look forward to seeing him back in the international squad.
"The fact that I got to see Stephen Henderson and young Kian Flanagan play as well was a bonus."
Ireland manager McCarthy was also at Bournemouth on Saturday as Sheffield United featured four of his players in their 1-1 draw.
"I always thought (Blades boss) Chris Wilder would stick with the players who got him promotion (to the Premier League) so I expected to see John Egan, Enda Stevens and David McGoldrick start," added McCarthy.
"David was partnered by new signing Callum upfront and it was interesting to see them work together as a pair. I thought they were impressive together."
Robbie Brady missed Burnley's 3-0 home win against Southampton with a fractured rib that is expected to keep him sidelined for another 10 days, while Jeff Hendrick was an unused substitute.
In the Championship, Harry Arter, now with Fulham, and Josh Cullen, back at Charlton, were both watched by Ireland scouts while McCarthy's assistant manager Terry Connor watched Birmingham's Danny Crowley in their 1-1 draw at home to Bristol City.
Callum O’Dowda was left out of the City squad for that game while James McClean missed Stoke’s defeat at Charlton due to a family bereavement. McCarthy will travel to Kenilworth Road on Tuesday night to watch James Collins as Luton Town take on Alan Judge’s Ipswich in the Carabao Cup.
"We’ve had James watched a couple of times already this season and I am looking forward to seeing him for myself," said McCarthy.
"I also hope Alan plays for Ipswich. He was so good for us when he went on in the Denmark game and was really unlucky to break his wrist in the final move of the game. Alan had a great chance of starting against Gibraltar only for that injury so I’m delighted he is fit again."