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Ireland’s O’Neill says Koeman is ‘bleating’ over McCarthy

War of words hits a new level

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Ronald Koeman
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

There is trouble brewing after the Football Association of Ireland has once again called up James McCarthy for the upcoming international break starting next week.

The Everton midfielder is currently out injured again with a hamstring tear after playing almost two full games in the last round of World Cup qualifiers for the Republic of Ireland.

This came with the player lacking match fitness after being out for nearly five weeks, and drew the ire of Everton manager Ronald Koeman, who was furious with the Republic of Ireland coaching staff for playing him in two full games after he had barely recovered from groin surgery, and is very unhappy again with the latest muscle tear.

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has hit back at Koeman’s complaints, saying that he has been ‘bleating’.

“I have included James at this minute. Speaking to him, James is improving day-by-day. If the game for instance was this weekend, he wouldn’t make it. The following weekend? I would say he would be doubtful at this minute. He needs to get some proper training in.

“He has been doing a little bit, but it’s one of those. I’ll leave him in for the provisional squad and we’ll see how things go. Obviously he wouldn’t make it this week and he would need to something a little bit before that.

“No I totally refute that [he had been “massively overloaded”] as well too obviously, getting an opportunity to respond. Considering that James had declared himself fit, he played the first game. He didn’t come off through injury [against Moldova], he came off through tiredness.

“And remarkably he actually trained on the very day at Everton that the manager was bleating about it.”

The Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman was also similarly called up and played within a matter of days of recovering from injury, and Koeman had expressed his unhappiness then too.