Martin O'Neill and Ronald Koeman have what could be described as a fractious relationship. The main point of contention - just who is responsible for James McCarthy's health. A recurring hamstring problem has kept him out of action since March's international against Wales.
James McCarthy began his pre-season three and a half weeks after Ireland were knocked out of the Euros. From the master tactician
— Ronald Koeman (@RonaldKoeman) March 31, 2017
Now, yet again, Ronald Koeman, Marin O'Neill and James McCarthy are in the same story, and this time it's got some major consequences for O'Neill and the international team.
Days after being linked with a number of Premier League clubs, the Everton manager has confirmed that the ex-Wigan midfielder will miss Ireland's crucial World Cup qualifier with Austria on June 11th.
Speaking to the Times in the aftermath of his side's 3-1 defeat to Arsenal, Koeman delivered the bad news.
“He will stay (at the club for these Ireland games). He spoke to the manager and they took the decision he will not go to the national team. In my opinion that is a really good decision he needs to recover and get ready for pre-season.”
Typically, Koeman is quick to bring this story to the press and we've yet to hear from O'Neill or the FAI, who are entitled to call McCarthy up to give him their own assessment. However, it does seem as though this absence will provide less controversy than previous battles about the player.
It's yet another blow for O'Neill, with the injury list lengthening. Ireland now head into the qualifier missing Seamus Coleman, Shane Long, McCarthy and likely Harry Arter, who suffered a dead leg while playing for Bournemouth.
A victory over Austria, who will be at least without Stoke's Marko Arnautovic could put Ireland back on top of Group D, with Wales heading to Belgrade on the same night. If results were to go our way, it could be a crucial night in our hopes to getting to Russia next summer, but there is real concern at the moment about the mounting injury list.