The ongoing war between Martin O'Neill and Everton manager Ronald Koeman doesn't look to be anywhere close to cooling down.
Yesterday, Koeman, not for the first time, was open in his criticism of the Irish management for their dealings with James McCarthy. This time, again speaking to the press, he claimed:
It was a final decision against the medical staff of Ireland and also against the medical staff of Everton. And there are two people responsible for that. One is the player by himself. Finally, if he says, 'Yes. I'm fit', okay, but even the player needs protection from the manager and, once again, they didn't give that protection to the player."
According to Sky Sports, the Irish management team is furious with the suggestion that they in any way mishandled the situation. They have a source who says the Irish medical team were happy that McCarthy was fit to play.
"To suggest that we ignored the advice of the our medical team is total rubbish. Mr Koeman needs to check his facts before he says such things."
Interestingly, they also claim that a lot of the frustration from O'Neill and the FAI stems from the fact that they've attempted to bury the hatchet and discuss the matter with Koeman on a number of occasions but the Everton manager has refused to talk to them, but instead continues to speak openly to the press about his concerns and offer his criticisms.
In the end, McCarthy did not play the game after being picked, pulling out after the warm-up and being replaced by David Meyler in the Irish midfield. He has only played 13 games for Everton this season, due to a lack of form and his ongoing hamstring issues. Those hamstrings are another source of the tension between Ireland and Everton, with the the Irish team, according to Sky, feeling they are being blamed for these issues, despite the fact that all of his injuries have occurred while at Everton.
It's worth noting that Koeman doesn't have a leg to stand on in this argument and maybe that's why he won't talk to O'Neill about the situation. The FAI are an entitled to select their player during an international window and it's reckless and inflammatory to suggest, without any knowledge of the situation, that they acted against medical advise.
Maybe Koeman should look at the desire McCarthy is showing in doing everything he can to be available for his country and do something to harness that passion, instead of whinging about it constantly.
Then again, we're just little old Ireland. I wonder if anyone ever told Ronald he wasn't allowed play for Holland because it would affect his club career?