Ebanks-Blake struggled to make an impression during Wolves' first campaign back in the Premier League.
But the 24-year-old looked sharp during pre-season and followed up his goal at Everton by netting during yesterday's 1-1 draw with Newcastle at Molineux.
The result maintained Wolves' unbeaten start to the campaign with a haul of five points from the opening three games.
McCarthy said: "Sylvan earned the right to be in the team and sealed that with a fabulous finish and another really good performance against Newcastle.
"It just didn't happen for him last season and it didn't happen for a lot of the lads early on - and then others got to grips with it quicker.
"Kevin Doyle was also playing so well up front so Sylvan didn't get as many games as he would have wanted.
"He wasn't as battle-hardened and sharp as he needed and wanted to be.
"This year he has had a great pre-season. He came back really hungry for it and he is a better player for it. He is working exceptionally hard.
"People questioned his ability to play at this level. I wasn't one of them."
The Newcastle clash was not for the faint-hearted, with 12 players - seven from Wolves and five from Newcastle - being yellow-carded by referee Stuart Attwell.
McCarthy said: "I'm glad we got everyone off the pitch without anyone getting sent off.
"But I'm pleased we competed in a real tough game.
"There were times when we may have lost that game last year when we were trying to chase games, being desperate to get a winner.
"If you've got your point, sometimes take and settle for the point and remember Newcastle are not a bad team.
"They've got a lot of Premier League quality in their team."
McCarthy was upset with Attwell for not awarding his side a penalty early in the second period when leading 1-0 after Matt Jarvis was brought down by James Perch.
He said: "I wasn't certain at the time. I didn't know if the ref thought 'Jarvo' had fallen over his legs.
"But I've just seen it again and it was a poor, poor decision.
"We are 1-0 up and, if we score the penalty, the game is done and dusted for us. It was a real pivotal moment in the game."
Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton was on the receiving end of some committed and zealous challenges but earned praise from Chris Hughton for his disciplined approach.
The Magpies manager said: "I think Joey is aware we want to see more of him on the football pitch.
"He has missed a fair chunk through injury during the last couple of years and I think he is really pleased and grateful to be first and foremost and to be playing.
"What comes with that is a responsibility to stay on the football pitch.
"There has never been any doubt about Joey's ability. It is just making sure he is on the football pitch for as long as we want him.
"His experience and quality and the fact he is in the squad will be crucial."
Andy Carroll's superb header from Barton's inswinging free-kick earned a share of the spoils for Newcastle after Ebanks-Blake had shown some clinical finishing to break the deadlock.
Ebanks-Blake also hit the woodwork but Newcastle squandered several clear-cut chances with Carroll and captain Kevin Nolan the biggest culprits.