Sunday 22 October 2017

McCarthy to accept Ireland call despite Koeman fears over hamstring

McCarthy was at the centre of a club v country row in the autumn when Koeman blamed the Irish camp for overloading the player by involving him in a pair of games with Georgia and Moldova. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
McCarthy was at the centre of a club v country row in the autumn when Koeman blamed the Irish camp for overloading the player by involving him in a pair of games with Georgia and Moldova. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Everton midfielder James McCarthy is aiming to accept a call-up for Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Wales.

And Martin O'Neill says that Everton manager Ronald Koeman can have no complaints this time because the Irish camp have played no part in his treatment since October.

McCarthy was at the centre of a club v country row in the autumn when Koeman blamed the Irish camp for overloading the player by involving him in a pair of games with Georgia and Moldova.

That infuriated Ireland manager O'Neill, who pointed out that the Glaswegian was included in Everton matches either side of that gathering.

The 26-year-old is now struggling with a hamstring injury and Koeman has said that he might be out for a fortnight.

Read more: Martin O'Neill springs two surprises as he names Ireland squad for crunch World Cup qualifier against Wales

But O'Neill has included him in the 39-man long-list for the Wales encounter and says that McCarthy is planning to resume training later this week. Koeman has acknowledged that the FAI are within their rights to call the player in for assessment.

"He's upbeat, he said he'll monitor it this week," said O'Neill. "He's hoping to be back in full training. He's had issues with Everton but this particular time, I think we are blameless. We've not had him for quite a few months, Everton had him for quite a period of time, so I don't think they will attach any blame us. . . but you never know."

O'Neill did offer a positive assessment on his defensive picture as he is working off the impression that Richard Keogh and Ciaran Clark will be able to shake off injury niggles ahead of next week's gathering.

Read more: Everything you need to know about Ireland's new boys John Egan and Liam Kelly

Brentford's John Egan and Reading's Liam Kelly are named on the long-list for the first time but they still have to make the final cut; it's expected that the March 28 friendly with Iceland will be used to experiment, with O'Neill indicating that Preston's Daryl Horgan is more likely to win his first cap in that game.

Irish Independent

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