Roy Keane has hit out at Everton and Ronald Koeman, suggesting that Toffee’s players “need to toughen up.”
Ronald Koeman has been increasingly critical of the Irish management in recent months, and Keane has followed Martin O’Neill in hitting back at the Dutch boss.
The Republic of Ireland assistant boss also revealed he is disappointed by James McCarthy’s absence through injury in his press conference in Abbotstown today.
“We knew he was struggling with the injury he had. He wasn’t fit to report, so we’re disappointed just like (Stephen) Wardy and some of the other lads,” he said of McCarthy.
“We know players are under pressure from their clubs. The clubs are looking after themselves.
“As long as I’ve been involved with Ireland, I think we’ve been more than fair to the clubs and the players.
“I don’t we’ve ever took any any unnecessary risks with players. We’ve had a number of players that we’ve not risked them and they’ve played a couple of days later with their clubs.”
Keane was then asked about Ireland’s relationship with Everton specifically, and said that he “couldn’t care less” about Ronald Koeman’s opinion.
“We’ve had a problem previously with (Roberto) Martinez. I think he was slightly over the top. It’s not criticism of the players — it’s more from Everton and their staff,” he said.
“I always felt the Everton players would turn up on crutches or crawling in the hotel door. It now looks like we’re going to have that issue with Koeman, but I hope not.
“I’m not sure the last time (Everton) won a trophy, I think it was a good number of years ago. Maybe overloading players and players playing lots of games is a good thing. That means your club’s been successful and lads are playing week in week out.
“I think they’re out of the League Cup, Norwich beat them at Goodison. So maybe Everton as a club, and it’s a brilliant football club, maybe their players need to toughen up a bit.
“Why do we need a good relationship with Everton? They’re lucky to have the Irish lads they’ve got. Everton traditionally have always had brilliant Irish players doing well for the football club.
“Particularly Seamus Coleman, what a player he’s been for Everton, so why would they try to begrudge Ireland having these players available to us?
“Darron Gibson’s Irish. Gibbo misses lots of games for Everton. A hell of a lot of games. And he seems to get injured a lot at Everton. Maybe they need to look at their own training schedule. Koeman’s opinions are no issue with me, I couldn’t care less.”