Ex-Ireland striker calls on feuding O'Neill and Koeman to bury the hatchet

The two managers have been involved in an ongoing dispute over James McCarthy.

Martin O'Neill and Ronald Koeman.
Martin O'Neill and Ronald Koeman.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

IT’S ABOUT TIME Martin O’Neill and Ronald Koeman put their differences to one side and moved on.

The Ireland manager has been involved in a war-of-words with the Everton boss over James McCarthy’s involvement in the squad for last month’s World Cup qualifier.

Midfielder McCarthy, who has been sidelined with recurring hamstring problems in recent weeks, was named in the team to face Wales before being replaced by David Meyler after the warm-up.

Both Koeman and O’Neill criticised each other publicly over the weekend as the feud rumbles on, but Sky Sports pundit Niall Quinn has called on them to end it.

“It’s gone very far at this stage,”says Quinn. “You would have thought a hard-hitting phone call between the two of them was a better solution.

“I believe that the lad should be patted on the back for wanting to play for his country. That’s great. He gave it every shot to play in a big game that he was needed in.

I admire the fact he came and nobody gave him a chance of playing and he was there all week driving to try play.

“Koeman is not getting anything out of this — no credit from what he’s done or said. It is not petty because Seamus’ (Coleman) injury is there, it’s more than that, but I would have expected him to have said something about in one press conference and we move on.

He added: “Martin has always been good at coming back from pressurised situations if somebody calls him out. I remember him being like that even before I knew him when he was doing punditry. If somebody disagreed with him, he’d come straight back in. There was never enough time to think about it, he was so sharp and bright.

“It is played out so much so much bigger these days. The quicker it goes away for the two of them the better. The player should be thought about.”

Shane Long and James McCarthy during the warm up McCarthy did the warm-up before the Wales game but then pulled out of the starting line-up. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Former Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland striker Quinn is no stranger to the pressures that come hand-in-hand with balancing club and country commitments.

“One time I went back to Sunderland and (manager) Peter Reid said that ‘the tactics today will be you wear a green jersey under ours because you run around more for Ireland’,” he added. “That’s all he said.

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“Peter used to get annoyed and say I cared too much about playing for my country. If I had an ankle problem, I’d say I was fine. It was easier in those days because you could tell a physio to get lost!”

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Ben Blake

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