The Republic of Ireland training staff is working to see if James McCarthy will be fit enough to play in their Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland on Friday night. McCarthy, who turned 24 on Wednesday, underwent additional scans to determine how much his hamstring has healed. The injury occurred during Everton's 1-1 draw against Sunderland this past Sunday when McCarthy went down in the 91st minute. With Gareth Barry going down early in the match and the club using their other two substitutions, McCarthy was forced to stay on. He had trainer tape up the leg and joined the push to score a winning goal.
He spent Wednesday walking around the rainy training pitch in Malahide being watched by the ROI team doctor. The results of the scan have not been made public but the nation's manager, Martin O'Neill was quoted saying: "James is obviously feeling better each day. He didn't do any work today - he's going for another scan this afternoon, which is kind of an update - but he is feeling better, so we will see what tomorrow might bring. Remember, it's only a few days since the injury and there's a possibility, obviously, of trying to join in now in the next couple of days. But that's all it was, it was just a walk with the doctor."
The midfielder's problems with the hamstring is nothing new as he missed Ireland's Euro clashes with Gibraltar and Germany in October after complaining about tightness in the area. This is undoubtedly a concern for the Everton staff and their supporters as the club has already been decimated by injuries this season. The good news is that O'Neill does not seemed pressured to play McCarthy unless he is totally fit on Friday saying "If he is fit to play and wants to play, that's fine; if he's not, then fine".
In related news, Gordon McQueen, a former Manchester United Defender and Scotland international made whine out of sour grapes by saying that he hoped that McCarthy would be given a "horrible reception" if he were to make an appearance in Friday's match at Celtic Park. McCarthy was born in Glasgow and grew up in Scotland decided to play for the Republic of Ireland as a teenager. He qualified to play for Ireland based on family ties. As so often happens when a talented player opts to play for another nation, those from the player's resident country often feel spurned.
McQueen's ire wasn't limited to McCarthy either as he also singled out fellow Blue, Aiden McGeady who was born and raised in Scotland but plays for Ireland due to family heritage. McQueen was understandably not happy about his nation losing two top-flight players to a rival seemed to bring into question if they had purposely turned down Scotland and also wondered aloud how "Scottish" they were: "I'm sure somebody must have asked them to play or Scotland at some stage...You're either Scottish or you're not Scottish and you should know that by the time you're 12 years of age."
We will get see if both players make an appearance for the Republic of Ireland on Friday evening and can look forward to seeing the reception that they are given.