Roberto Martinez has dismissed suggestions that James McCarthy is not fully committed to his international commitments saying that the midfielder was 'desperate' to play for Ireland against Scotland and the USA. Martinez's comments come in the wake of Roy Keane's suggestions that Everton have been putting undue pressure on their Irish contingent to forego their international duties. Although the Everton manager didn't specifically name-check Keane, his comments are sure to be read closely by those in the Ireland camp.
Martinez was speaking to the Liverpool Echo when he made the comments and he suggested that the protection afforded to McCarthy so far has been too slack judging from the amount of muscle injuries that he picks up.
We need to assess it. Maybe it’s managing the work he does in training, We need to find the right formula because we need to make sure we don’t get these sort of injuries on a regular basis. He’s a super fit boy and he shouldn’t be picking up these sort of knocks.
James has played a huge amount of games and is still a very young man. He’s had this same injury before but not in the same leg. It’s partly normal phases of development and growing into the physical demands of your role.
While that won't exactly be music to the ears of Ireland fans, Martinez was keen to stress that McCarthy's withdrawal from the Ireland squad was out of necessity rather than choice.
James was desperate to be involved with his national team but he couldn’t make it. We will try to get him fit for West Ham but it is a bit too early to tell. He hasn’t been able to train with the team and that is a worry on a Tuesday leading up to a Saturday game.