Football

Angry Ronald Koeman Turns Up To Press Conference With Statement Criticising Martin O'Neill

Angry Ronald Koeman Turns Up To Press Conference With Statement Criticising Martin O'Neill

All last week in the build-up to Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Wales, the expectation was that James McCarthy would not be available for the game.

Roy Keane said on the Tuesday before the game that the midfielder was highly doubtful for the encounter. So, it was surprising to see him in Ireland's initial starting line-up for the match.

McCarthy would suffer a recurrence of a hamstring injury in the warm-up and be replaced in the starting team by David Meyler.

Over recent times, the relationship between Ireland management and that of McCarthy's club Everton has undoubtedly been rancorous. Various barbs have been thrown back and forth between Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane and Ronald Koeman.

That continued on Friday when Koeman read out a pre-prepared statement during a press conference ahead of Saturday afternoon's Merseyside derby.

Already today there had been reports that Irish management called 'total rubbish' suggestions by Koeman that they had ignored the advice of their own medical team by naming McCarthy in the starting line for the game against Wales.

Koeman was not letting that line go though as he claimed O'Neill and Co. had failed to protect the player.

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James had an injury when he reported for Ireland duty last week. Our medical team made the Ireland medical team aware of this of course.

Everton's medical team advised extreme caution, not only due to the current injury but to the previous injuries too. The assessment by the Ireland medical team was that it would be a high risk for James to play against Wales.

But James, of course, is strong and decided to play for his country. So when asked if he was fit to play he said he felt he was fit and he was selected to start the game by the Ireland manager who in my opinion in this instance was not protecting the player.

Clearly, James was not fit to play. He had trained only for two days with Ireland and he broke down during the warming up.

All these circumstances – he played only one game from the start in 2017 and he did not play for three weeks before the Wales game – mean in my opinion he would need one full week of training sessions with the team to be declared fit.

I spoke to James and told him 'you need to take responsibility of this'.

Koeman went on to say that further conversations between him and McCarthy were private and that the club, rather than him personally, would be involved in any discussions with the FAI.

You can watch Koeman speak about McCarthy from the 1:35 mark below.

PJ Browne
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