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Ireland select James McCarthy again despite fitness concerns

Manager Martin O’Neill tried to laugh it off, but the Blues are unlikely to be happy if this keeps happening.

Republic of Ireland v Georgia - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has come to rely on Irish midfielder James McCarthy as one of his first and most trusted options off the bench this season, and it’s a credit to the player that he’s continued to progress despite off and on injury issues.

After Saturday’s win against West Brom, Koeman revealed that McCarthy had picked up another hamstring knock during the week and would be out for a period of time. However, Ireland seem unconcerned yet again, naming McCarthy to their squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

For his part, Irish manager Martin O’Neill tried to downplay the issue.

“At least Everton can’t blame us this time, I hope, James hasn’t been with us for months.”

Of course, this is not the first time that O’Neill has recalled an injured McCarthy. When it happened in November, Ronald Koeman was not happy, saying that Ireland were “massively overloading” the player.

With the race for the Europa League in full swing, you can expect that once again Everton will be none too pleased about McCarthy’s selection, particularly O’Neill’s reported attempt at laughing the issue off.

McCarthy will hopefully be fit in time to take part, but regardless, it seems an unnecessary risk by the Republic of Ireland.