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Joel Bagan opens up about Mick McCarthy after Cardiff City departure

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Cardiff City left-back Joel Bagan has admitted he has a lot to thank previous boss Mick McCarthy for in enhancing his career prospects both domestically and internationally, speaking to Independent.ie.

62-year-old McCarthy left the Bluebirds last month after losing his eighth consecutive league game with the Welsh side, plunging them into relegation danger as they sat just two points off the drop zone at the time of his departure.

Scoring just once and conceding 19 times during this run, leaving them in 21st place, the second-tier outfit’s board felt as though they had no other option but to part company with the former Republic of Ireland manager.

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One player who did benefit from his presence though was 20-year-old Bagan, breaking into the first team under his predecessor Neil Harris but being kept in the senior side by McCarthy when he arrived in January, before a shoulder injury ruled him out from March to the end of the campaign.

However, he was heavily involved under the 62-year-old in the first nine games of 2021/22, also starting in his penultimate game in charge and making more appearances in the league this season already than he did in the last despite missing McCarthy’s final match and being left out in favour of more defensive-minded players out wide in others.

This is something that may have proved to have been the former Cardiff manager’s final nail in the coffin, but he still trusted a reasonably young player to perform in most matches this term and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the player himself.

Speaking candidly about his old boss, the 20-year-old said: “Mick (McCarthy) was great with me. Obviously the link with Ireland, he’s helped me out with that.

“And from the first game of the season in the Championship, he chucked me in and I got a good run of games, so I’ve got a lot to thank him for.

“We started the season well and we were doing alright but yeah, we went on a bad run, but the last two or three games now, we’ve started to turn it around.”

The Verdict:

Although Bagan has rightfully thanked his former manager for giving him a real chance to make an impression, you could argue the Basingstoke-born full-back should have received even more time on the pitch.

He was heavily involved in the Bluebirds’ promising start to the campaign, going unbeaten in their opening four league games of the 2021/22 campaign and winning 11 points from a possible 18 in their first six before their decline.

But instead of sticking with the likes of Bagan and Perry Ng, both of whom can get forward with attacking intent as orthodox full-backs, McCarthy opted to go defensive and even played five centre-backs against the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City.

This was a formula that never looked like it was going to work out and even though he did eventually utilise duo again away to Fulham, switching to a back four and a completely different system, it was too little, too late for a side that were only heading one way under his stewardship at the time.

There’s no doubt the 20-year-old would have continued to develop well with McCarthy though – and he will be hoping to put himself in contention for a starting spot under a new manager.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Joel Bagan opens up about Mick McCarthy after Cardiff City departure

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