Saturday 19 January 2019

Koeman feels the lash as O'Neill fumes

Ireland boss ridicules Everton claims about 'Lazarus' McCarthy

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill

Both barrels, no holding back. It's always refreshing when a normally cautious man lets rip and it was Martin O'Neill's turn. Ronald Koeman was his target

Sparked by Koeman's wildly over the top use of the kind of language which might be normally associated with a battle zone O'Neill has clearly been biding his time and waiting for a the right moment.

This was it.

He began quietly enough but the temperature rose as he detailed first how James McCarthy arrived fit, left fit, trained on the day Koeman told us that O'Neil had "killed him" and came off the bench the following day against Manchester City

It should also be remembered that Koeman had sent McCarthy a pretty stark message about his future at Goodison Park when he picked him on the right side of a three-man defence and then subbed him after 38 minutes against West Brom in the very early part of the season.

Surprised when Koeman cut loose about McCarthy then Martin?


"Obviously I was surprised because James played the game, first of all he declared himself fit for a start, the injury he had, he said it wouldn't affect him and the only thing that would affect him would be tiredness.

"He got through the first game and I thought he was starting to labour in the second match which was no surprise to me.

"We took him off in the game but he left us pain free. He played a game and three-fifths of the matches.

"The next thing I know, I hear they are talking about us overloading him. He trained on the Thursday, the very day that he (Koeman) was talking. He trained. I spoke to James and he said 'I trained today'.

"So James is in a difficult situation because Everton pay the wages, that's true, I understand that and he's first and foremost an Everton player.

"But when he comes on international duty and if he's fit to play, then if he's fit for selection he's got a chance of playing in the games so I was surprised about it, this idea that we killed him. He did brilliantly to recover then. Lazarus. Amazing."

O'Neill agreed that Koeman choice of words was remarkable and the more he thought about it, the angrier he became.

"Yes it was, that we killed him. He played on the Saturday," he said, his voice rising.

"He played on the Saturday! So if I was a manager, I would be excruciatingly embarrassed by it, to turn around and blame somebody for playing.

"I would go and check first of all whether the player has trained and whether you're thinking about using him for the Saturday before you start talking about your player being killed.

"His latest injury has got nothing to do with us. I do not play players, never have done, who are not fit.

"And, in fact, I have actually been so cautious about that there because I was a club manager myself.

"James had not done a lot of work, that is true, but he trained and felt fine in the games and so we played him.

"If he'd been feeling the injury he wouldn't have played the first game. He got through the game and he was able to start the second match. By the way, Seamus Coleman played for us. He didn't play against Oman.

"But he played out in Serbia in the game, his first for a while and that did him the world of good to play for Everton the following week. I didn't hear them saying 'You played him in the game'.

O'Neill does not accept Koeman's assertion that a player coming back from injury and an operation should not be over-worked because of the risk of a recurrence had any relevance to McCarthy simply because he returned to Everton fit

"Not at all, he's got a hamstring injury. He trained and he played against Man City.

"I think the physiotherapists have had conversations with our doctor. I think our medical team were pretty disappointed with the comments that were emanating because obviously the manager would be getting something from their physiotherapists."

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