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Donall Farmer/INPHO Manager Martin O'Neill pictured at training earlier
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Martin O'Neill 'hasn't read' controversial Roy Keane comments
The Ireland manager also confirmed that Cyrus Christie and David McGoldrick would start tomorrow night.

IRELAND MANAGER MARTIN O’Neill claims he “hasn’t read” recent controversial comments made by assistant manager Roy Keane regarding the Irish team.

Keane at the weekend suggested the availability of Everton’s James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman may become an issue, while also seemingly taking exception with Jack Grealish’s father supposedly prompting a delay on the youngster’s decision to potentially declare for Ireland.

When asked about Keane’s comments in relation to McCarthy, O’Neill said: “First of all, I haven’t picked up on Roy’s comments, I don’t follow him around.  I haven’t had the chance to read what he’s said.

“From my own perspective, regardless of what Roy’s said, the situation was this: [McCarthy and Coleman] weren’t fit for the game against Gibraltar and Germany, and played [for Everton] a few days later — that’s understandable.

“This particular time, James does have a muscle injury. He came here and wanted to give it a go, but we always thought that time would be against us, but I think he’ll be perfectly alright to play for his club. So there’s not much more I can say about it.”

When pressed further about the potential issue between club and country, O’Neill responded: “Every single time there seems to be ‘a distraction or another issue’ with Roy. I’m delighted to have him. I chose him in the first place to bring him in here and he’s been terrific.

“All these distractions… Some things materialise that aren’t of his doing to begin with. He’s got a mind of his own, he can say what he wants.

“Unless it’s utterly in contradiction with what I’m saying to you, then I do not have a problem with it.”

On the topic of Grealish, when a journalist read out the Keane comments in question, O’Neill said:

“I’ve spoken to Jack Grealish’s father. Jack’s father and Jack were not in any great hurry at that particular time to make their mind up. It was entirely up to them.

“If Jack pulls out of the under-21 team, good luck to him.

“Roy’s not going to be running around asking Jack’s father every single day if he’s made his mind up. We’ll let them decide themselves.”

Meanwhile, when it was pointed out that the comments about Grealish’s father were “not a pleasant thing to say,” O’Neill responded: “What do you want me to say? Seriously?”

And after being asked whether he would discuss Everton chairman Bill Kenwright’s comments today about Keane with manager Roberto Martinez, O’Neill said: “I think that I will… It is not my job to read the newspapers every single morning.

“I’ve other things to do at this minute. I’m not saying that they’re more important but they’re issues I have to address. So I might get a chance to find out exactly what was said on both sides and then I will take a view.”

O’Neill added that Everton full-back Seamus Coleman could still feature in tomorrow night’s game against USA, while he also confirmed that new squad members Cyrus Christie and David McGoldrick would make their debuts from the start of the match.

He also was cagey on recent angry remarks made by Robbie Keane, ostensibly questioning why the Ireland manager has previously chosen to play him as a lone striker, yet not as part of a two-man strike-force — his preferred role — last Friday.

“I’m not sure I have to explain every single decision,” O’Neill said.

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