Monday 20 November 2017

Boss Martin blast back

Gloves are now off in the bitter Everton-FAI row over McCarthy

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Martin O'Neill has upped the ante in the increasingly-bitter battle between the FAI and Everton over James McCarthy's fitness by telling the Toffees boss to keep his mouth closed with the added insult of describing Toffees boss Ronald Koeman as the "master tactician of the blame game".

Even with today's important derby game to prepare for, Koeman took time out in his pre-match press conference to read out a prepared, detailed statement on the McCarthy saga.

Koeman claimed O'Neill had included McCarthy in his squad, and then named him in the starting XI, for the World Cup tie against Wales, against the wishes of the club but, crucially, against the advice of the FAI's own medical team.

But the FAI broke their silence last night with a strong statement from the manager.

"Once again the Everton manager, master tactician of the blame game, has struck out in his comments today, criticising both myself and James McCarthy," said O'Neill, adding that Everton had "overloaded" the player by only giving him 11 days off after Euro 2016.

"James last played for his country almost half a year ago. Since that time he has been totally under Everton's supervision. James is diligent and conscientious in his professional preparation. Perhaps, in this instance, quiet introspection may serve the Everton manager and his medical staff better."

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