As predicted in this space, Ronald Koeman was never going to be happy with Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill after yet another James McCarthy injury controversy during the international break.
Sure enough, part of Koeman’s pre-Liverpool press conference was reading a prepared statement regarding McCarthy, and he did not hold back. Video and transcript below:
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 to the previous injuries too.
The assessment by the Ireland medical team was that it would be a high risk for James to play against Wales.
But James of course is strong and decided 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.
All these circumstances – he played only one game from the start in 2017 and he did not play for three weeks before the Wales game – mean in my opinion he would need one full week of training sessions with the team to be declared fit.
I spoke to James and told him 'you need to take responsibility of this'. But this is not the first time.
It will be interesting to see where the situation goes from here. Certainly, you can lay some of the blame at the feet of the player. However, Martin O’Neill’s continued insistence to not heed the advice of Everton’s medical staff is simply daft.
It would behoove him to work a little harder at appeasing the club, considering perhaps his two most important players (McCarthy and Seamus Coleman) hail from Goodison Park. Furthermore, his Ireland side desperately need McCarthy fit, and O’Neill is shooting himself in the foot in that regard.
Either way, Everton must do without McCarthy this weekend at the least, and it’s likely he would have received extended game time in the absence of Morgan Schneiderlin.