James McCarthy has emerged as a real doubt for the Republic of Ireland’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Wales later this month in Dublin.
As reported in the Daily Mirror, the midfielder missed Everton’s 3-0 win over West Brom and is said to be “one or two weeks” away from fitness, according to his club manager Ronald Koeman.
Martin O’Neill names his squad for the clash with Wales on Monday, with McCarthy likely to be called up as the Irish team doctors monitor the injury, with just under two weeks to kick-off.
The 26-year-old missed the 1-0 win over Austria last November due to a hamstring injury and his manager has revealed a similar one is keeping the player sidelined this time around.
“James again has some problems with his hamstring – it happened at the beginning of last week.
“It’s painful for him and also for me because I like him and we want to progress with him.
“But every time we do that he has to take a step back. It’s not a big hamstring injury – he will be out for one or two weeks – but I’m really disappointed about it.
“We need to deal with his fitness and maybe [play him] 30-35 minutes like last week, then put him through recovery.
“We need to learn. I’m not a doctor but I want the best for him, it’s difficult.
“It’s another step back for the boy and that’s really disappointing. We need to find a solution and we haven’t found it yet.”
News of his latest setback will come as a blow to O’Neill, who lost Brighton defender Shane Duffy to a broken metatarsal last week, ruling the player out of action for six weeks.
O’Neill also has to contend with the absence of Burnley’s Robbie Brady, who will be suspended for the clash. However, the form of Aiden McGeady, who won the Championship Player of the Month award for his performances with Preston North End last month, at least gives the Ireland boss some positive news regarding a player he greatly admires and who could very well start in the Aviva on March 24.
Damien McEvoy, Pundit Arena
Read More About: Aviva Stadium, everton, everton news, ireland news, irish football, irish international football, james mccarthy, Martin O'Neill, Republic of Ireland, ronald koeman, Russia 2018, Top Story, Wales, World Cup quaifier