Martin O'Neill Leaps To James McCarthy's Defence

Martin O'Neill Leaps To James McCarthy's Defence
By Conor O'Leary

Martin O'Neill has dismissed claims that James McCarthy isn't committed to Ireland. This comes after former Ireland assistant coach Liam Brady questioned the passion that the Everton midfielder had for Ireland.

Brady's interesting column laments what he deems is a lack of talent at O'Neill's disposal, and he doesn't think that McCarthy is important for Ireland yet:

McCarthy has only played one game of the four, against Georgia, I think the jury is still out about his importance to the Irish team.

He does think that McCarthy and Coleman are the two best Irish internationals in the Premier League, but when McCarthy misses internationals only to play for his club the following week he is concerned:

I don’t know whether he’s just shy or really has a passion to play for Ireland.

This sentiment isn't shared by O'Neill.

When these comments were put to the Ireland manager at the pre-match press conference ahead of the crucial qualifier with Poland, O'Neill claims he has zero concerns about the passion for any of his players.


I don’t think I’ve any need to question anyone’s passion to play for Ireland.

James has had a few problems, as you know, he had hamstring problems way back some time ago and had to take quite a few weeks out. In one year, he has only played one game for us. He’s back, he’s played a number of games now in quick succession and he’s got a couple of days here to get over things, as did Seamus Coleman.

In either case, it's likely that McCarthy will play a key and important role for O'Neill's Ireland in the tie with Poland later today.


[Irish Independent]

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