Belfast Telegraph

Bring on the big Guns Arsene, urges Cathcart

By Stuart McKinley

Craig Cathcart is hoping that Arsene Wenger wheels out his big guns for an assault on the FA Cup.

Rather than wanting to take on Arsenal's second string in tomorrow's third round, the Northern Ireland under-21 international would rather go up against Emmanuel Adebayor and the best that the north London club can offer.

And with the Cup offering Arsenal their last chance of domestic silverware this season, Newtownabbey-man Cathcart – who is on-loan from Manchester United to Plymouth Argyle – may get his wish.

Cathcart will face the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow after having his loan from Old Trafford extended to the end of the season, and isn't being phased by the biggest test of his club career.

"I was hoping that we'd draw one of the big clubs away from home and I am glad that's how it has turned out," said the teenager.

"There is no pressure on us and to go up against one of the top teams in the country gives us a great chance to see how we match up to some of the best players around.

"I know that Arsenal have played a lot of their younger reserve players in the cup competitions so we don't know what Arsene Wenger will do this time.

"It doesn't really matter who they play, the team that goes out against us will be a good one, but from a personal point of view I am hoping that Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie play so that I can test myself against two quality international players."

Tomorrow's game will be Cathcart's first taste of FA Cup football, but he was very close to playing for United in the competition two seasons ago.

Sir Alex Ferguson was plunged into a defensive crisis at the time of the semi-final against Watford and named a 17-year-old Cathcart (pictured) on the bench for that game. He was warming up when another defender picked up an injury during the game, but the United boss decided to reshuffle his backline, moving midfielder Darren Fletcher to right-back.

Cathcart had been due to make his first-team debut a matter of days later, only to pick up an injury himself which ruled him out of the rest of the season, including the FA Youth Cup final against Liverpool, when he was due to captain the United team.

Belfast Telegraph


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