Belfast Telegraph

Martin O'Neill happy to consider giving McCarthy time out of international duty


Martin O'Neill has admitted that he is open to giving James McCarthy the summer off, but only if the midfielder insists that he would benefit from taking an extended break.

The Republic of Ireland play friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay next month before the World Cup qualifier against Austria, and even though O'Neill is hopeful that McCarthy will be involved, he hasn't ruled out allowing the Everton player to recover from a persistent hamstring injury.

McCarthy came in for criticism from his club manager Ronald Koeman after he made himself available for the qualifier against Wales in March despite missing games for Everton.

"Absolutely," O'Neill said when asked if McCarthy could be given the summer off. "We have to accept there is no point in bringing somebody who is half-fit. If he thinks at the end of the week 'no, these games are too early', I don't have a problem."

McCarthy was included in O'Neill's 38-man squad, while Burnley defender Kevin Long earned a first call-up.

Belfast Telegraph

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