O’Neill hits back
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill released a strongly worded, if not catty, statement on Friday night in response to Everton’s Ronald Koeman.
Koeman was furious with O’Neill in his Friday morning press conference ahead of Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
The Everton boss felt that midfielder James McCarthy was not fit enough to travel with the Republic of Ireland squad and that both he and the team acted recklessly, and have done so throughout the season.
In his statement, O’Neill hit back at Koeman, defending himself and his player.
O’Neill opened his statement by calling Koeman the “master tactician of the blame game”.
“It should be added that James last played for his country on the October 9, 2016 – almost half a year ago. Since that time he has been totally under Everton’s supervision,” the statement read.
“Perhaps, in this instance, quiet introspection may serve the Everton manager and his medical staff better,” O’Neill continued.
McCarthy’s club and country teammate Seamus Coleman was a more serious injury casualty for Ronald Koeman during the international break.
Coleman suffered a double leg-break in last Friday’s draw with Wales. While that injury was, of course, completely out of O’Neill’s control, Koeman is perhaps still harboring some resentment over the whole situation.
Without McCarthy, the Toffees could be short in midfield as Morgan Schneiderlin and long-term absentee Mo Besic are both unavailable.