Martin O’Neill has slammed Ronald Koeman as a “master tactician of the blame game” in a withering statement this evening.
The Ireland boss criticised the Everton bossÂ and the club’s staff for their role in McCarthy’s injury problems, and claimed that “quiet introspection” would benefit those at the club.
McCarthy, 26, suffered a late hamstring injury ahead of Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Wales last week, and was replaced in the starting lineup by David Meyler.
O’Neill was responding to Koeman’s latest comments, which came earlier today in today’s press conference ahead of the Merseyside derby.
“Clearly James was not fit to play,” Koeman said.
“We advised extreme caution. He was not fit to play.
“In my opinion, the Ireland manager in this instance was not protecting the player. I am not surprised but I am disappointed.”
O’Neill, however, was not willing to late the Dutch manager’s comments go uncontested.
“Once again the Everton manager, master tactician of the blame game, has struck out in his comments today, criticising both myself and James McCarthy,” the statement read.
“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 better.”