Martin O'Neill criticises Wales' Neil Taylor and Gareth Bale for 'very poor challenges' in Ireland stalemate

Luke Edwards
Martin O'Neill is privately angry about Neil Taylor's challenge that broke Seamus Coleman's leg - PA

Martin O’Neill, the Republic of Ireland manager, has revealed the operation to repair a double fracture in Seamus Coleman’s right leg has been a success but has criticised Wales’ pair Neil Taylor and Gareth Bale.

As revealed by Telegraph Sport, Coleman has had metal pins inserted into his leg to fuse the snapped bones together and is facing at least six months on the sidelines.

O’Neill was unwilling to put a timescale on the Everton’s defender’s recovery, although it is thought the 28-year-old will be lucky to play again this year.

The tackle by Taylor that snapped Coleman’s leg has been widely condemned, even though the Aston Villa player was distraught when he realised what he had done and apologised immediately to the Ireland bench.

However, there is growing anger towards Bale, who made an equally bad tackle on John O’Shea moments before the Coleman incident.

Gareth Bale was shown a yellow card for his late tackle on John O'Shea Credit: Rxe Features

The Real Madrid star’s lack of contrition has incensed many in Ireland, including O’Shea, who said he had been extremely lucky to avoid having his leg broken.

Bale even claimed, according to Wales manager, Chris Coleman, that he should not have booked for the tackle and wanted to appeal against it, even though most observers felt it was dangerous enough to warrant a red card.

Privately, O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane are seething and could well publicly rebuke Bale before Tuesday night’s friendly against Iceland.

There is a view within the Ireland camp that Wales’ players crossed a line in what had been, up until the Bale lunge on O’Shea, a hard but fair physical contest.

“I've seen the challenges,” said O’Neill, who immediately asked for replays of the incidents when he got back to the team hotel on Friday night. “I've seen the challenge [Gareth Bale's] on John O'Shea and they are very poor challenges.''

Seamus Coleman suffered a double leg break after Neil Taylor's tackle Credit: Rex Features

As for Coleman, O’Neill believes the player’s mental strength will ensure he makes a full recovery.

“He had the operation yesterday [Saturday] morning at 8:30 a.m, that was successful,” O’Neill told the BBC. “He has realised everything that has happened and is obviously very disappointed.

"It will take some time to heal, it's a double break but it has been pinned up now and screwed in. I know the doctors and surgeons are all very, very pleased with the way the operation has gone and now it's time for recuperation.”

When asked when he expected to be able to select his captain again, O’Neill added: “I'm not sure, I would only be guessing.

 "Even the doctors and surgeons wouldn't be terribly sure. Sometimes there are complications afterwards and injuries can be more prolonged, other times it can be clean and clear sailing.

"It will take some time but Seamus has great determination and sometimes those things work very much in your favour, in terms of recovery.''


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