Koeman unhappy with Ireland, O’Neill and McCarthy

Date published: Friday 31st March 2017 1:40 - Matthew Stead

Everton boss Ronald Koeman has accused his Republic of Ireland counterpart Martin O’Neill of “not protecting” James McCarthy.

The Dutchman read out a prepared statement about the player’s hamstring problem on Friday.

Koeman also said McCarthy “needs to take responsibility” with regard to the situation that has left the midfielder ruled out of Saturday’s Merseyside derby at Liverpool.

After going into the international break having missed Everton’s last two games because of a hamstring complaint, McCarthy was named in the Republic’s starting line-up for their World Cup qualifier against Wales last Friday, only to then be forced to withdraw having pulled up just before kick-off.

Koeman, who was at loggerheads with O’Neill earlier this season over McCarthy’s use by the Republic after suffering injury, was asked about the matter on Friday at his press conference to preview the Liverpool match.

He had prepared for such a question and read from a sheet of paper, saying: “James had an injury when he reported for Ireland duty last week.

“Our medical team made the Ireland medical team aware of this, of course. Everton’s medical team advised extreme caution, not only due to the current injury but due to previous injuries too, and the assessment by the Ireland medical team was that it would be a high risk for James to play against Wales.

“But, of course, James has a strong desire to play for his country. So, when asked if he was fit to play, he said he felt he was fit, and he was selected to start the game by the Ireland manager who, in my opinion, in this instance was not protecting the player.

“Clearly James was not fit to play. He had trained only for two days with Ireland and he broke down during the warming up.

“He played only one game from the start in 2017, and he did not play for three weeks before the Wales game.

“In my opinion, he would need at least one full week of training sessions with the team to be declared fit.

“I spoke to James, and he needs to take responsibility of this. But it is not the first time.”

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