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Serious Dilemma For James McCarthy Regarding Ireland Following Koeman Comments

By PJ Browne
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James McCarthy was one of the 35 included in Martin O'Neill's provisional squad for the World Cup qualifier against Austria.

That was despite the midfielder suffering a hamstring injury in Everton training recently which, at the time, was supposed to keep him out of action for three weeks.

O'Neill said that if the game against Austria was this week, McCarthy would be unable to play but that the player's condition is improving and that's why he included him in the provisional squad.

McCarthy has played more times for Ireland since August than for Everton. The 25-year-old played all of the qualifier against Georgia and 80 minutes against Moldova. He's made just one appearance for Everton - as a substitute against Man City last month - since starting a League Cup game versus Yeovil in late August.

After those World Cup qualifiers last month, Koeman accused Martin O'Neill of 'overloading' the player. O'Neill refuted that charge on Wednesday.


At a press conference ahead of Everton's game against Chelsea this weekend, Koeman addressed the issue of McCarthy being called up to the Ireland squad.

He put the player in somewhat of a difficult position, saying that rather than join up with the Ireland camp, he should instead remain with Everton in an effort to fully regain his fitness. Koeman added that the final decision is with McCarthy but for a player who is has played very little under the Dutchman, he is in a real quandary.

Ronald Koeman on James McCarthy being called up to Ireland squad

The player is not fit. The player is not involved in team sessions.

I think to have call-up, he needs to be close to being fit. It's a little bit the same story as what happened the last time.

We spoke to James. My advice to James is to stay here and do training and be fit as soon as possible but the final decision is by the player.

Koeman said that McCarthy's priority should be his club, not the national team.

We spoke about what I want. It starts from playing for Everton. The player has learned from last time when he was overloaded and got another injury. First be fit, train with your club then you are ready for the national team. Not vice versa.

It’s difficult for him because he is between Everton and Ireland but first you must do what is best for your club. If you are ready then you can play for your national team but he needs to be fit first. If not, he will stuggle again.

Asked about his 'war of words' with Martin O'Neill, Koeman refused to throw further fuel on that fire.

I spoke about this and let's stop talking. I talk about him. He is talking about me. Let's stop. That's the best.

You can watch Koeman speak about James McCarthy at the beginning of the video below.


[Watch Video]

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