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'He actually trained with Everton on the day his manager was bleating about it'

Martin O’Neill has hit back at recent comments by Ronald Koeman regarding James McCarthy’s fitness.

James McCarthy is doubtful for the trip to Austria.
James McCarthy is doubtful for the trip to Austria.
Image: Richard Sellers

IRELAND BOSS MARTIN O’Neill has re-opened the war of words with Everton manager Ronald Koeman at today’s press conference to announce the provisional squad to face Austria.

Koeman previously accused Ireland of “killing” McCarthy, after the star featured in recent World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova despite his perceived lack of fitness.

The Ireland boss, however, dismissed the Toffees coach’s criticism, pointing out that McCarthy was fit to feature in Everton’s subsequent Premier League game while rejecting claims that playing for the Boys in Green contributed to the injury that has left him doubtful for the upcoming qualifier with Austria.

James had declared himself fit. He didn’t come off through injury (against Moldova), he came off through tiredness. And remarkably, he actually trained with Everton on the day his manager was bleating about it.”

Asked why Koeman made the accusation, the manager responded: “I’ve no idea, you’d have to ask him.”

O’Neill added that he was hopeful McCarthy would fit in time for the trip to Austria, explaining that his current hamstring injury is “improving day by day”.

John O’Shea and Stephen Ward are also doubts for the game, while Shane Long and Daryl Murphy have been ruled out.

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Paul Fennessy

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