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Saturday 10 December 2016

Selfish Toffees missing the big picture

McCarthy injured but Keane is vexed with Koeman's attitude

Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane pictured ahead of yesterday’s press conference. Pic: Sportsfile
Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane pictured ahead of yesterday’s press conference. Pic: Sportsfile

When Roy Keane looks you in the eye and says "show me your medals", there's not many can stand their ground.

Very few footballers in the history of the game collected as much swag and it is difficult to see anyone doing as much at one club in the future.

Yesterday, Keane questioned Everton's ambition and wondered were they a bit soft. A good club, but what about the medals?

"I look at Everton and maybe Everton have to toughen up. They get lots of injuries with players who are not playing international football so they might have a look at themselves at club level," he said. "They are on about over-load. I think sometimes a coach or a manager at a club like Everton, you want players playing lots of matches because that's down to being successful.

"Remind me, when did Everton last win a trophy?"

James McCarthy. Pic: PA
James McCarthy. Pic: PA
Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane pictured ahead of yesterday’s press conference where he defended Ireland’s treatment of James McCarthy and responded to criticism from Toffees boss Ronald Koeman. Pic: PA

The context was James McCarthy and the seemingly endless run of injuries which Ireland's Toffees suffer.

Talking Ronald Koeman to task for his use of overblown language, he pointed out that being "overloaded" is a symptom of success.

Beaten

"They're out of the League Cup, aren't they? I think they were beaten by Norwich," said Keane with the faintest grin playing around his lips.

If we're honest, this was all a bit of an anti-climax. McCarthy's availability was flagged as the major issue of the week when Koeman opened his mouth first after Moldova.

But as Keane said, if McCarthy is not fit, he shouldn't travel.

"If the players are injured then they are injured. But this idea that we are taking risks or over-loading is so far off the mark that you would not believe it," he said. "I think we have been too far the other way. We've turned a blind eye sometimes. Lots of players have missed qualifying matches and have been fit for their clubs a couple of days later.

"We've had to accept that. Not just the Everton players. Don't just make it the Everton players because Seamus and James turn up.

"The issue is not with the players, it's with the clubs and from a selfish point of view, they're going to fight their corner.

"There is always that element when players turn up that there is that calculated risk. There's a risk getting into your car. Lads could have got injured this morning.

"We knew the Dundalk lads would be keen to join in but they had to sit out the training session. It's common sense eventhough players sometimes come to us and want to train but can't. We'd love to see them training.

"I think our medical staff could not be fairer to the players. It's common sense, speak to the players."

Keane is more than aware of the glaring double-standard used by clubs who will happily reap the benefit contained in a player with 50 international caps on his record when they want to sell him.

"Clubs complain about internationals but any time these clubs are selling these players, you ring up and it's 'Oh well he's an Ireland international' and that adds in a few million," Keane said.

"You're happy to say that but you're not happy when they have to come and play. Give us a break.

"A club like Everton - if you are a half decent club - then, my God, you expect your players to be going away playing international football because you would like to think that is the status of your club.

"When I was manager of Sunderland and lads were going away for internationals, I was delighted.

"They were representing their countries and representing the club. That's what you want.

"Do Real Madrid and Barcelona get upset when their players travel? Manchester United? At clubs like that you expect your players to be going.

"If it's international week and you are at your club with 20 players staying behind, you look around and think 'my God, we really are struggling'."

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