'We'll assess Seamus day by day' - Martin O'Neill refuses to rule Coleman out of Germany clash
Martin O’Neill has refused to definitively rule Seamus Coleman out of Thursday’s Euro 2016 qualifier with Germany, stating that the Everton player’s condition is improving on a daily basis.
The full back has been out of action with a hamstring problem since September 12 and Roberto Martinez suggested after yesterday’s Merseyside derby that it would be a big ask for the Donegal man to represent his country.
O’Neill has not spoken with the Spaniard and said any implication that the 26-year-old would not be ready for Irish duty was ‘news to me.’
However, he acknowledged that targeting the second leg of the double header - Sunday’s trip to Poland - could prove to be a viable option. Coleman did some fitness work away from the rest of the Irish group at the FAI’s National Training Centre in Abbotstown this morning.
“We did that the last time,” said O’Neill, when the option of keeping one of his star men for Warsaw was mentioned. “Seamus missed Gibraltar and Cyrus (Christie) came in and played very, very well. Then Seamus came in for the second game.
“Seamus has done a little bit of work with the physio and the doctor today. Obviously he’s very, very keen to play if he can but we’ll see. It’s a day by day thing. He’s getting better every single day and even though he wasn’t involved with Everton, we’ll have a look at him, see how he’s getting on and, as I say, assess it day by day.”
Christie, the Derby fullback, is in line to deputise for Coleman again although he is carrying a slight injury which he expects to shake off. He could be joined in the starting line-up by two club colleagues with Jeff Hendrick almost certain to play and Richard Keogh vying for a starting berth in the absence of Ciaran Clark and the likely unavailability of Marc Wilson. The latter has stayed in Stoke for treatment on a calf problem and Poland looks to be his only chance of figuring this week.
“I’ll certainly be talking to him tomorrow to see how he is,” said O’Neill, “I think he was going for a scan and to check himself through. Stoke thought it was the best thing for him to do, to stay with them for a couple days.”
James McCarthy picked up a knock towards the end of his employers’ 1-1 draw with Liverpool, but the Irish boss expects that the midfielder will be fine. The Irish boss is used to the Glaswegian reporting with bumps and bruises.
“I think when he comes to us, there’s always something that is disconcerting for a day or two but he seems to get through it,” he stressed.
McCarthy will have a prominent role against the world champions with Glenn Whelan suspended. James McClean is also banned and with Stephen Quinn and Harry Arter sidelined, the 63-year-old is short on midfield options. Hence, Darron Gibson’s recall to the panel after he was initially cut from the mammoth 40-man provisional squad.