Koeman: McCarthy was not fit to play

Friday 31 March 2017  28 Comments  [Jump to last]

Updated Ronald Koeman stated his case once more for the benefit of then cameras and the media today when he declared that James McCarthy should not have been involved in the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier last week.

The war of words between the Dutchman and the Ireland camp has flared up again in the wake of McCarthy's latest injury setback suffered on international duty after he was forced to pull out of the match against Wales 10 minutes before kick-off.

Koeman again levelled blame at the player for not taking responsibility over the situation himself but he accused Martin O'Neill and Ireland's medical team of not protecting McCarthy.

The Everton boss read a prepared statement in anticipation of a question about the midfielder who pulled out of Wales game when he felt stiffness in his hamstring during the warm up. O'Neill followed that with a statement of his own, labelling Koeman as the "master tactician of the blame game".

“James had an injury when he reported for Ireland last week,” the Dutchman read. “Our medical team made the Ireland medical team aware of this, of course.

”Everton's medical team advised extreme caution, not only over the current injury but also due to the previous injuries and the assessment by the Ireland medical team was that it would be a high-risk for James to play against Wales.

“But, of course, James has a strong desire to play for his country so when asked if he was fit to play, he said that he felt he was fit. And he was selected to start by the Ireland manager who, in my opinion, in this instance was not protecting the player.

“Clearly, James was not fit to play. He had trained only for two days with Ireland and he broke down during the warm-up.

All these circumstances… he has played only one game from the start in 2017. He did not play for three weeks before the Wales game.

“In my opinion, he would need at least one full week of training sessions with the team to be declared fit. I spoke to James [about how] he needs to take responsibility for this.

“This is not the first time,” Koeman concluded before refusing to divulge the content of his private discussions with McCarthy, while saying that it would be up to the club to handle any talks with the Irish FA over the matter.

O'Neill's response was published by the Irish FA on Friday evening. In it he dredged up the previous argument over McCarthy's fitness last October where the player broke down with an injury after playing back-to-back international games on just a few days' training on his return from groin surgery.

Once again the Everton manager, master tactician of the blame game, has struck out in his comments today, criticising both myself and James McCarthy.

Perhaps a review of Everton's pre-season programme might provide some enlightenment.

James had a magnificent tournament for the Republic of Ireland last summer during UEFA EURO 2016, playing his last game in very late June. He then returned to Everton after a very short break, but only 11 days later, he played his first of three games, all within an eight-day period, against Real Betis, Manchester United and Espanyol. Overloading?

It should be added that James last played for his country on the October 9, 2016 - 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.

 

Reader Comments (28)

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Joe O'Brien
1 Posted 31/03/2017 at 16:28:42
And it rumbles on and on... If this is all true... that Ireland knew he had a injury when he joined up then were told it would be a big risk.

Firstly, I don't think he should have been asked could he play.

Secondly, he shouldn't have said he could. He'll be out the door in the summer.

He's not a starter standard but I think he's a very good squad player. We definitely could do with him tomorrow.

Chris Williams
2 Posted 31/03/2017 at 16:30:12
Yes, I watched this and he seemed properly put out about both O'Neill's behaviour and McCarthy's too.

I suppose the prepared statement had the support of the club and the fact he stated that any further dealings on this will be between 'the club' and the FAI, and not involve him, reveals a wider disquiet within Everton about this.

If his statement about the communication between the two medical teams is accurate, and you would think it was, then there is a real issue here that needs sorting. As he said, not for the first time.

I'm glad he said this, and allowed time to pass after Seamus's injury.

James Stewart
3 Posted 31/03/2017 at 16:42:32
You have to wonder if all this fuss is really worth it over a very limited player, if we are being honest. I think Koeman will just wash his hands of McCarthy in the summer and rightly so.
Christy Ring
4 Posted 31/03/2017 at 17:30:15
James, the very limited player, would have been a huge addition tomorrow.
Damian Wilde
5 Posted 31/03/2017 at 18:48:29
Christy, get over your love-in with James. He is limited.

Loving Koeman's words. Do one, O'Neill!!!

Matthew Salem
6 Posted 31/03/2017 at 19:01:52
I think McCarthy is by no means a limited player and I would have been delighted to have him ready for the next games.

I love the prepared statement and the go at O'Neill... rightly so .

Chris Williams
7 Posted 31/03/2017 at 19:03:44
McCarthy is limited. Limited by repeat hamstring and groin injuries. If he had the sense he was born with he'd not play for Ireland again and secure and cement his career in the Premier League.

He was great in his first season but since then injury after injury.

Absolute idiocy from him.

David Pearl
8 Posted 31/03/2017 at 19:28:52
If he was so limited in Koeman's eyes he wouldn't be playing him when he is fit. Not that he will be if he keeps ignoring advice from his club's medical staff.
Jay Harris
9 Posted 31/03/2017 at 19:37:30
Unfortunately, James, in his desire to help his country, may have finished his career as a top premier league player.

He will probably move on to Newcastle in the Summer and look back with regret.

As for O'Neill and Keane... contempt doesn't even sum it up. One is a silent snake charmer and the other is an egotistical big mouth.

Peter Howard
10 Posted 31/03/2017 at 20:22:25
It might have been better for us to have taken the line that he was fit to play when he left Finch Farm.

That way, we could argue that he got injured on international duty and his wages would then get paid out of Blatter's pension fund.

Joe O'Brien
11 Posted 31/03/2017 at 20:35:10
Damian, would you have him in the side tomorrow instead of Barry? I certainly would... if you think back to the Derby in Goodison in December, we were controlling the match until he went off.
Danny Broderick
12 Posted 31/03/2017 at 21:09:52
Barry has been twice the player McCarthy is all the while they have been at the club together.

McCarthy is a lite version of Idrissa Gueye. We'd need him tomorrow for a 30 minute cameo at best, and even then you'd be wondering if his hamstrings were going to last.

Barry will help us to control the midfield tomorrow. As long as he has legs around him (i.e. Davies and Gueye), he can still be effective, and tomorrow is a game right up his street. We'll need Barry tomorrow with Schneiderlin out.

Declan Martin
13 Posted 31/03/2017 at 21:33:48
I think Ronnie might have been better served at having a go at Chris Coleman rather than Martin O'Neill. O'Neill did what any manager would do – use the best resources he has available to him.

As for Chris Coleman – he sent out players in the second half to do in the Irish players. After Bale got away with a murderous lunge on O'Shea, Taylor obviously thought the ref was soft and could do similar – followed by his assault on Seamus Coleman.

Which international manager is the real culprit here?

Neil Cremin
14 Posted 31/03/2017 at 22:06:58
Trying to look at this in perspective rather than read some of the daft comments in this and Lyndon's other thread.

Koemann has sidelined and undermined McCarthy almost since his arrival at the club. Now in his prepared statement he referred to advising Ireland's medical team "about not only current injuries but also previous injuries".

The question is if that is the case was Koeman himself guilty of the same decision when he played him in the derby game when he controlled the match until he had to go off "injured" at half-time. Is this all just a smoke screen.

Just wondering what the real agenda is.

Kieran Kinsella
16 Posted 31/03/2017 at 23:08:22
I couldn't care less who is in the right or wrong. I'm just glad we have a manager who defends his corner. Fergie always spouted off and generally got away with murder and intimidated referees to his advantage.

Moyes was too nice, Martinez too clueless. Koeman don't take crap from anyone. Hopefully this rubs off on the players.

Paul Holmes
17 Posted 31/03/2017 at 23:31:23
McCarthy plays one game and then misses three, he's taken over from sick note Gibson.

We need him to play in a couple of pre season friendlies to show other clubs he is fit (but we know he will break down again soon), then sell him for the best fee we can get and let other clubs manage his sick note career!

(Besic will turn out to be better than him anyway. Sell McCarthy to West Brom asap!

Damian Wilde
18 Posted 01/04/2017 at 00:34:26
Once again the Everton manager, master tactician of the blame game, has struck out in his comments, criticising both myself and James McCarthy.

"Perhaps a review of Everton's pre-season programme might provide some enlightenment.

"James had a magnificent tournament for the Republic of Ireland last summer during at Euro 2016, playing his last game in very late June.

"He then returned to Everton after a very short break, but only 11 days later, he played his first of three games, all within an eight-day period, against Real Betis, Manchester United and Espanyol. Overloading?

"It should be added that James last played for his country on 9 October - 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."

Anyone else feel like knocking O'Neill out? Fool.

Darryl Ritchie
19 Posted 01/04/2017 at 00:48:58
I like McCarthy as a player. He has a great engine and when he plays to his potential, he is an asset.

I do, however, have doubts about his intelligence. The desire to play for his national side had to be put aside. If he was not fit; and he was not, he should have taken his name out of the running for selection. It was his call, and he muffed it.

He is certainly not endearing himself to the manager, and the club, who pay his wages.

Peter Murray
20 Posted 01/04/2017 at 00:53:20
O'Neill's response is bluster, deliberately avoiding Koeman's main point that,in his capacity as manager of the Republic of Ireland, O'Neill flew in the face of concerns about McCarthy's fitness expressed not only by Everton's medical team but also by the Irish medical team.

It speaks volumes that McCarthy could not even get through the warm-up.

Yes, the player has to take his share of the responsibility for a decision that has harmed both himself and the club. But when did any decent manager rate the subjective opinion of an individual player over objective medical reports?

Instead of trying to sneer his way out, he should have the honesty to admit that he was wrong.

George Stuart
21 Posted 01/04/2017 at 01:06:22
How good is the current Ireland team I wonder if they are reliant on an injured Everton squad player?

Not to worry. They'll certainly get a place in the new format 148 team World Cup Finals.

Brendan Fox
22 Posted 01/04/2017 at 01:21:05
O'Neill needs to wind his neck in, the hypocritical prick. Heard him whinge many a time when a club manager at Celtic, Villa, Leicester about players going off for international duty during the season and picking up injuries.

McCarthy is likely finished in Koeman's eyes given this is the second time round he's injured himself on international duty when not match fit. If that's the case, then McCarthy has got nobody to blame but himself.

James Flynn
23 Posted 01/04/2017 at 03:14:38
Chris (#2) – "I suppose the prepared statement had the support of the club and the fact he stated that any further dealings on this will be between' the club' and the FAI, and not involve him, reveals a wider disquiet within Everton about this."

I'd say you got it right. The only difference, to me, is that the Club didn't just "support" the statement, it "prepared" the statement in anticipation of Koeman being asked about McCarthy. And he read it verbatim. Don't know what the legal ramifications are in such matters, but would expect some legal actions being pursued by the Club.

Also, this part of Ron's statement: "Everton's medical team advised extreme caution, not only over the current injury but also due to the previous injuries and the assessment by the Ireland medical team was that it would be a high-risk for James to play against Wales."

No way he says that into a microphone, in front of cameras, unless our medical staff confirmed it to be fact.

Finally, "“But, of course, James has a strong desire to play for his country so when asked if he was fit to play, he said that he felt he was fit. And he was selected to start by the Ireland manager who, in my opinion, in this instance was not protecting the player."

100% on O'Neill. When a national team's medical staff says "high-risk" about a player and you try to cover yourself with "the player said he could play", you were "not protecting the player".

Of course, O'Neill would just be in a long line of managers/head coaches (all professional sports) who'd risk a player's health if it meant helping to keep his own job. Happens all the time.

As a general subject, club vs country, I hope Everton pursue whatever legal action available. Might help, in the future, to protect players from this kind of thing.

Neil Cremin
24 Posted 01/04/2017 at 07:17:27
Most of the response is because McCarthy is not available for today's derby. (???) If he hadn't warmed up for Ireland last Friday, would Koeman have taken the same decision as O'Neill and put him on the team sheet for today???
Allan Board
25 Posted 01/04/2017 at 08:07:09
What a shame this is over-shadowing the Coleman injury – it doesn't even come close in importance.

As for McCarthy, he doesn't give a shit about EFC and he's proved it yet again. He's lost without his "mentor" Martinez and he is a very poor player – apart from running around a lot. Get rid. No loss.

I also doubt "Hinge and Bracket" at Ireland had any input at all in their statement –far too many big words, put in the right order and in context!!

Dope Keane is thick as shit, and O'Neill thinks he's the modern-day Cloughie. Let's get it straight, O'Neill and Keane – your old manager had wit, charm, charisma and knowledge.

You two are just a couple of chancers who run an international side like a pub team and just got plain lucky by having great players around you when you played. Water carriers, the pair of you.

Danny Broderick
26 Posted 01/04/2017 at 08:49:59
He would have been on the bench at best.
John Raftery
27 Posted 01/04/2017 at 09:27:35
Ireland's last game in the European Championships was on 26th June. His first appearance for Everton in pre-season was 34 days later on 30th July when he played for 60 minutes v Real Betis. He then played for 65 minutes at Man Utd on 3rd August and for 27 minutes as a substitute v Espanyol.

It is obvious that like the other players returning from the Euros he was being eased back in. Once again, O'Neill is talking nonsense.

Jim Hardin
28 Posted 01/04/2017 at 11:57:53
John,

What pray tell was McCarthy doing in those 34 days by your count between those games, and under whose direction? O'Neill's? Thought not. I wonder which manager/club/team is pointing the finger improperly here. Seems Everton have been piss poor in keeping him healthy, which is I think true and which is the point of O'Neill's response. Is Koeman guilty of the glass houses and stones bit?

I wonder would McCarthy have been training for Everton if he had not joined Ireland? Koeman did not say he shouldn't be training and if McCarthy wasn't able to be training, then he wouldn't factor in today's game either as he would be unfit to play. There does not seem to be a criticism of over the top training methods. He felt a twinge in warm-ups, not the actual game so O'Neill didn't play him either. There is an awful lot of whining going on over a C+ player. Maybe Koeman didn't have anything else to talk about over the international break either.

As for those suggesting putting him on the bench today, what? Why? That would mean he would be coming on as a sub. If he isn't healthy and pulls the rubber band he calls a hamstring, then Koeman would have to use two subs for the same spot or play a man down, when he is stretchered off. You don't put a physically iffy player on the bench.

Chris Williams
29 Posted 01/04/2017 at 12:05:30
Jim, there's a good piece on The Russian Linesman about this exchange which breaks the time down and McCarthy's playing time in the pre-season.

Very revealing.

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