Tuesday 22 October 2019

'It's a ridiculous assessment of it' - McCarthy adamant nothing sinister behind Doherty exclusion

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy at the FAI National Football Exhibition at UL Sports Arena, University of Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy at the FAI National Football Exhibition at UL Sports Arena, University of Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE focus on Matt Doherty's exclusion from Ireland's June double header has been described as 'ridiculous' by Mick McCarthy.

Wolves' star Doherty did not see a minute of action in the games with Denmark and Gibraltar with captain Seamus Coleman preferred at right full and McCarthy reluctant to give the Dubliner another shot in a right wing role.

McCarthy believes it's quite a straightforward debate, stressing that he remains a big admirer of Doherty having brought him to Wolves from Bohemians in 2010.

"It's a ridiculous assessment of it," said McCarthy, responding to a query which suggested that Doherty was the fall-guy for Ireland's struggles against Gibraltar the first time around.

"In my opinion Seamus is the best right back. I think Matt is a fabulous right back but unfortunately for him, I think Seamus is a better one.

"At this moment in time why would I leave Seamus out? But it’s always about someone who doesn't play. And the other thing about Seamus is, he’s a fabulous personality and the captain of the team. It’s just difficult, you know."

When it was put to McCarthy that he could have included Doherty on the right side of midfield again - off the back of the player suggesting he would like to try operating alongside Coleman again - the 60-year-old asked what was wrong with Callum Robinson's display in Monday's hard fought 2-0 win over the minnows.

"Who do you think was the best player on the pitch?" he said, with a reference to Robinson.

"Why not talk about him instead of putting Matt Doherty in that position. Callum Robinson is an attacker. Matt isn't an attacker, he’s a right wing back and he is a brillant right wing back for Wolves but unfortunately sometimes, the manager just thinks that there is somebody who is better in that position.

"I can’t say anything other than that or give you any other reasons. I really love Matt Doherty. I signed him at Wolves, he's had a great career. But, my preference is...you know sometimes I’m telling players that and it's hard….'You’re not playing today.' 'Why not?' ‘Do you know what? It's my preference.' That’s what it is and the manager has to have it."

McCarthy has also insisted he has no intention of trying to persuade the FAI to keep him on beyond Euro 2020 if he succeeds in bringing Ireland to the tournament.

The current Irish boss is due to be replaced by Stephen Kenny after Ireland's interest in the competition ends under the terms of a succession plan agreed when John Delaney was chief executive of the organisation and was asked if he would look to initiate discussions with the FAI to see if the lie of the land has changed.

Kenny has brought the U21 side to the semi finals of the Toulon Tournament - they play Brazil on Wednesday - and he has a written agreement to take over the senior team.

"I'm not looking to do that, that's completely unfair," said McCarthy, when asked if the idea of sitting down with the FAI was being considered.

"Stephen's been doing great with the U-21s. They are playing Brazil in the semi final tomorrow and to be asking me that question when there's an agreement in place that it's going to happen, that's not really completely nice.

"I haven't given it any thought. I've got four more games to try and qualify for Euro 2020 and I'm hoping that's going to be the case but if we get there and we do well and if that's my last of it, I would be delighted, I'm cool. That's my agreement at the moment, yeah."

Mick McCarthy was speaking at the Limerick launch of the National Football Exhibition which has been tied in with the beginning of the Kennedy Cup youth competition.

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