Koeman fury at Ireland over McCarthy
Everton boss Ronald Koeman has hit out at Martin O'Neill's management of James McCarthy's fitness during Ireland's World Cup qualifier double-header, saying the midfielder was "massively overloaded".
McCarthy departed for international duty having not featured since August 23 because of a groin injury which required surgery, and his manager expressing hopes he would be "protected".
He returned to the club's training ground having completed 90 minutes against Georgia last Thursday and 81 minutes against Moldova on Sunday. Koeman says he doesn't know yet if McCarthy will be fit for tomorrow's trip to Manchester City.
"After five or six weeks out of football after his surgery I know he played the full game after three group sessions with Ireland and then he played the second game and is massively over-loaded," said the unhappy Dutchman.
"We have to make a decision tomorrow if he's really fit to be part of the team."
"Of course he is massively overloaded. I don't do this to my players at Everton because you get injuries again. If you leave it up to the player to decide then he is in a difficult situation because he's between the Everton and Irish teams.
"The players are really committed to the Ireland team but there was contact between the medical teams of Everton and Ireland and he plays 90 minutes after five to six weeks out."
He added: "You hope something like this would be solved by the understanding of the doctor of the Ireland team or the manager of the Ireland team. They asked him if he was ready to play. It is very difficult for a player to say no because he is in Ireland.
"I like to have a lot of international players because it is a very good experience for every player. But sometimes, in several cases in fact, you like to have a little bit more understanding for a player who has been out injured for five to six weeks.
"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."
Bruce confirmed at Villa
New Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce dismissed any fears over his Birmingham City past and believes he has taken on the biggest challenge of his career.
The 55-year-old, who has signed a rolling contract, was unveiled by Villa yesterday to replace Roberto Di Matteo, who was sacked after just 12 games last week.
Bruce spent six years at city rivals Birmingham, winning promotion twice before leaving in 2007, and takes over at Villa with the club 19th in the Championship after just one win.
He said: "I have to be really careful but I do believe I have one of the biggest clubs in the country."