McCarthy may be given summer off to recover from injury - O'Neill
Martin O'Neill has admitted that he is open to giving James McCarthy the summer off, but only if the midfielder insists that he would benefit from taking an extended break.
Ireland play friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay next month before the crucial World Cup qualifier against Austria, and even though O'Neill remains hopeful that McCarthy will be involved, he hasn't ruled out the possibility of allowing the Everton player to recover from a persistent hamstring injury.
McCarthy came in for criticism from his club manager Ronald Koeman after he made himself available for Ireland's qualifier against Wales in March despite missing games for Everton.
The 26-year-old was named in the starting line-up but withdrew shortly before kick-off after the injury flared up again.
"Absolutely, of course there is a case," O'Neill said when asked if McCarthy could be given the summer off.
"He wanted to play the last time and he declared himself fit and it was really unfortunate that he went out and felt it (hamstring) in the warm-up.
"We have to accept that there is no point in bringing somebody who is half-fit. If he decides at the end of this week 'I am absolutely flying, I don't feel a thing', that's a consideration.
"If he thinks at the end of the week 'No, these games are too early', I don't have a problem.
"If there was chance for him to play… I would have to see how he was at the end of the week or the beginning of next week.
"If he has done three or four days consecutively, feels nothing and he is doing well, then I have a decision to make. If he is thinking 'I don't feel great about this' then, you know what, just leave this summer."
McCarthy was included in O'Neill's 38-man squad for next month's three games, while Burnley defender Kevin Long earned a first call-up.
Marc Wilson and Rob Elliot were recalled after injury, but Ciaran Clark is out for eight weeks with a knee problem.