Thursday 22 February 2018

Martin O'Neill hits back at Ronald Koeman over James McCarthy comments

Martin O'Neill hits back at Ronald Koeman's James McCarthy comments
Martin O'Neill hits back at Ronald Koeman's James McCarthy comments

David Smith

Martin O'Neill has taken "exception" to Ronald Koeman's comments over Ireland's treatment of James McCarthy.

The Everton boss complained yesterday that Ireland had "overloaded" McCarthy during the international break.

“When James came back from Ireland, the message from Everton’s medical staff was that he was massively overloaded,” said Koeman.

“It’s ridiculous that he has surgery, five to six weeks out, three training sessions, plays 90 minutes and then, after three days, he plays another 80 minutes.

“Play him for 45 minutes, 60 minutes, but not 95 minutes after five to six weeks out. The second time, 80 minutes! You are killing the player.

“Ireland know what I think about it. I hope for more protection for players in the future."

Everton face Pep Guardiola's Manchester City this weekend, and McCarthy is a major doubt ahead of the game.

Koeman had also warned O'Neill to "protect" the 25-year-old before Ireland's qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova. The combative midfielder hasn't played for the Toffees since August 20, due to groin surgery, but started both games for Ireland.

However, Martin O'Neill has hit back at the Dutchman today.

"I have been involved in club and international management for a considerable time and I take exception to the remarks made," he told the Mail.

"I have the utmost regard for the Republic of Ireland medical team who are as good as any in Europe.

"I believe he trained with Everton today and is available for selection if required this coming weekend."

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