EVERTON BOSS RONALD Koeman says James McCarthy was “massively overloaded” during the international break.
The Dutchman, who expressed his concern when the midfielder was called up by Martin O’Neill despite his lack of football this season, is unhappy that he played both of the recent World Cup qualifiers.
McCarthy hadn’t lined out for the Toffees since 23 August as he recovered from groin surgery, but featured for the whole 90 minutes at home to Georgia and also started in the win over Moldova three days later — coming off after 81 minutes.
Koeman takes his side to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City on Saturday, and he will have to wait on the fitness of McCarthy, who is doubtful.
“James McCarthy is a little more difficult, because after five or six weeks out of football after his surgery, he played the full game after three group sessions with Ireland,” Koeman said during today’s press conference.
“He played the second game, and he’s been massively overloaded. We have to make a decision tomorrow if he’s really fit to be part of the team.”
Meanwhile, Koeman is preparing to go head-to-head with his close friend Pep Guardiola.
The former Barcelona team-mates will meet as managers for the first time this weekend as City host the Toffees seeking a response to their 2-0 defeat at Tottenham before the international break.
City’s slick passing was heavily disrupted by Mauricio Pochettino’s side, and Koeman hinted he will employ similar high-octane tactics this weekend. He said: “We are really strong friends and now it’s a little more easy because he lives in Manchester and I live close. Sometimes we have time to have dinner.
“He was really interested in the way how we play football in Holland. I see a lot in the teams managed by Pep about Barcelona, Dutch football, I like that because that’s the most difficult way to win, to play offensive football, sometimes risky, and to win titles.
Most of the other managers win titles, but not in that football.”
Koeman added: “I watched City against Gladbach and it’s a very good job to see the difference between how they play this season and how they play last season.
“That’s difficult to defend but we have examples of other teams who have gotten results against them.”
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