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O'Neill swipes back at Koeman in McCarthy injury row

By Daniel McDonnell

Martin O'Neill says that Ronald Koeman should be embarrassed for attributing James McCarthy's latest injury setback to his involvement in the Republic of Ireland's October games with Georgia and Moldova.

Tensions are running high between the Irish boss and his Everton counterpart after the Dutchman claimed the Republic had "overloaded" McCarthy by involving him in the World Cup qualifiers. The midfielder had just returned from a spell on the sidelines due to groin surgery.

He is a doubt for Saturday week's game in Austria with a fresh hamstring issue, although O'Neill has included the player in his provisional panel - which is unlikely to sit well with Koeman.

O'Neill pointed out that McCarthy played over half an hour for Everton as a sub away to Man City when he came back from Irish duty, just 48 hours after his club boss expressed reservations about the handling of the 25-year-old.

"He trained at Everton on the day the manager was bleating about him," said O'Neill. "And he played on the Saturday. If I was a manager, I would be excruciatingly embarrassed to blame somebody for playing him.

"James is in a difficult situation because Everton pay his wages. But when he comes on international duty and if fit, he's got a chance. He left us pain-free. He's got a hamstring injury now."

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