Martin O’Neill will seek talks with Everton manager Ronald Koeman after stating that James McCarthy did nothing wrong in declaring himself fit to play for the Republic of Ireland against Wales last week.
O’Neill has plenty of sympathy for Koeman after right-back Seamus Coleman had his leg broken in two places against Wales, an injury that is likely to mean he will not play again this year. As a result, he wants to speak to his opposite number and will also address the ongoing tension between them regarding McCarthy.
McCarthy was pulled out of the Ireland team by O’Neill just ten minutes before kick off last Friday, after complaining of tightness in his hamstring. But there has still been criticism from Everton, who felt the midfielder should not have been pushed to play in the game in the first place.
McCarthy turned up for international duty carrying the injury, but was able to train with his Ireland team-mates in the build up to the World Cup qualifier and was duly named in the starting XI by O’Neill.
His relationship with Koeman has been a strained one, with both trading barbs, via the media, after the Dutchman accused Ireland of “overloading” a player, who has completed just two 90-minute games for his club this season, when he played back-to-back internationals against Georgia and Moldova last October.
O’Neill has already tried to speak to Koeman once, but the Everton boss did not return his call.
“James wanted to play and he was fit to play,” said O’Neill. “Let’s put a couple of things to bed. He didn't train the first day, which was nearly understandable. He trained the last couple of days, but he over-stretched in the warm up, felt something, and I didn’t want to take the risk. We were guided by James.
“If you look, he wasn't been with us now for a long, long time. What he does at club level is something that's outside our jurisdiction and outside our control.
“I think that's something he would have to look at, if it is a hamstring problem that he's continually having, that's got to be addressed by him and his club more than anything else. We're trying to pick up the bits of this here, but it's not a fight.”
Asked if he would try to speak to Koeman again, O’Neill replied: “I'll give him a shout. Seamus Coleman's injury was the most important thing of the weekend. If he doesn’t want to talk, that’s fine, no problem.
“The protocol is medical staff to medical staff phoning each other. I was a club manager and I never once received a call from an international manager about one of my players [being injured]. Even though I picked up injuries, I accepted that as a fact, you curse your luck, but I never once picked up a call. But Everton have lost a really important player in Seamus.”