Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has hit back at Roy Keane for "saying some stupid things" following the Republic of Ireland assistant's comments about Toffees boss Roberto Martinez over the management of his international players.
Keane took Martinez to task over his handling of injuries to key Ireland players Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy, who both missed last month's qualifiers with McCarthy also sitting out this time around after reporting with a hamstring problem.
Keane said: "You always get the impression from Everton that Seamus and James are both barely able to walk, that type of thing. So when they actually turn up and they are walking through the reception, 'Praise the Lord, it's a miracle'.''
Responding to that, Kenwright said: "I'm a big fan of Roy Keane's but he does say some stupid things.
"That is just totally totally unfair, we absolutely love our players going on international duty and we never ever get in the way of them and Roberto Martinez will be as shocked as everyone at Everton."
However, Republic boss O'Neill was more conciliatory as he was forced to plunge himself into yet another Keane controversy at his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday night's friendly against the United States.
Asked about the comments of both his assistant and Kenwright, O'Neill said: "Well first of all, I haven't picked up on Roy's comments. I don't follow him around. I haven't had the chance to read what he has said.
"From my own perspective, regardless of what Roy has said, I think the situation was this: way back, let me put it this way, the two lads were not fit for the game against Gibraltar and Germany, and obviously played [for Everton] a couple of days later. That is understandable. "I had spoken to Seamus and Seamus just wasn't right. I didn't speak to James at the time, but there was a thought that he might have played against Manchester United then, but didn't do so.
"I hadn't really a problem with that at all, it was just that this particular time, James does have a muscle injury. He came here, he was wanting to try it and really wanted to give it a go.
"We always thought that time would be against us and I think he will be perfectly all right to play at the weekend for his club, and really there isn't much more I can say about it."
Asked further if he would now look at Keane's comments, O'Neill said: "It is not my job to read the newspapers every single morning, it's not, honestly. I have other things to do at this minute.
"I'm not saying they are more important, but they are issues I have to address. I might get a chance to go down and find out what was said on both sides, and then I will take a view."