James McCarthy is already a doubt for Ireland’s clash against Austria in June.
According to the Irish Independent, the Everton midfielder could be ruled out for the Dublin clash with his ongoing hamstring injury again playing havoc with his season. McCarthy missed Ireland’s draw against Wales after aggravating the problem during the warm up for the game. The ex-Wigan man was due to start the match despite question marks over his fitness.
McCarthy’s injury has resulted in some unfortunate exchanges between Martin O’Neill and Everton boss Ronald Koeman.
The pair have had ongoing disputes this season following McCarthy’s inclusion in several squads despite not being fully fit. This latest incident has only further sparked the way of words between the two with McCarthy stuck in the middle. Koeman has vented his frustration feeling that McCarthy was not protected by the Irish set-up.
“James, as a strong (person) decided to play for his country, so when asked if he was fit to play he said he felt he was, and he was selected to start the game by the Ireland manager who, in my opinion – in this instance – was not protecting the player,” said Koeman.
The Glasgow-born midfielder has struggled for form this season with his injury playing a major part in it. The arrivals of Idrissa Gueye and Morgan Schneiderlin have resulted in McCarthy being pushed down the pecking order with a couple of early season appearances strangely coming at right wing back in the absence of Seamus Coleman.
Should he be ruled out, it would be a blow for Ireland who will hope to continue their solid form in World Cup qualifying group D. Ireland sit joint top on eleven points with Serbia, who lead on goal difference. The Boys in Green are four points ahead of the Austrians and last month’s opponents Wales with five games remaining.
McCarthy missed the away tie in Vienna with Harry Arter deputising for the 26-year-old. Ireland have become well stocked in central midfield during the campaign with David Meyler also putting in solid performances against the Austrians and Wales.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena