Everton manager Ronald Koeman has not been shy during his time at Goodison Park in blasting Martin O’Neill on numerous occasions for the well-being, or lack thereof, of the Toffees’ contingent on the Ireland team.
The Dutchman will be even more frustrated after the Boys in Green drew 0-0 with Wales in Dublin. Seamus Coleman suffered a broken leg, while James McCarthy was rushed back into action too soon, aggravating an injury warming up and was unable to play in the game.
Koeman delivered a statement today, blasting the Irish camp for their decision to play the midfielder, and also took aim at the player himself.
“James had an injury when he reported with Ireland duty last week. Our medical team made the Ireland medical team aware of this, of course.
“Everton’s medical team advised extreme caution not only due to the current injury, but also due to the previous injuries.
“The assessment from the Ireland medical team was that it would be high risk for James to play against Wales.
“Then James decided to play for his country, so when asked if he was fit to play, he said he felt was fit and he was selected to start the game by the Ireland manager, who in my opinion, in this instance, was not protecting the player.
“Clearly James was not fit to play. He had trained for only two days with Ireland and he broke down during the warm up.
“He has played only one game from the start in 2017. He did not play for three weeks before the Wales game.
“In my opinion, he would need at least one full week of training sessions to be declared fit and I have spoken to James. He needs to take responsibility of this. It is not the first time.”
This only adds to the tension between the two camps. Currently, Everton boast three Republic of Ireland players in their ranks, with Aiden McGeady also owned by the Toffees.
This is likely not to be the last time tensions will arise between Koeman and O’Neill as the World Cup qualifying campaign gathers pace.