Belfast Telegraph

Koeman warns off McCarthy from joining Republic squad

By Phil Medlicott

Everton boss Ronald Koeman has advised James McCarthy not to join up with the Republic of Ireland for their forthcoming match against Austria.

Toffees midfielder McCarthy, who has been nursing a hamstring injury, was on Wednesday named in the Republic's provisional 35-man squad for the World Cup qualifier tomorrow week.

Koeman expressed his unhappiness about the 25-year-old's handling by the Republic in early October, when McCarthy played one full international match and around 80 minutes of another, having not featured for Everton since August 23 because of a groin problem.

Since then the player has made one substitute appearance for Everton, then missed two games due to the hamstring issue that will also keep him out of tomorrow's away clash with Chelsea.

Koeman said after the last international break that McCarthy had been "massively overloaded" by the Republic - something refuted this week by their boss Martin O'Neill, who accused the Dutchman of "bleating" about the matter.

When asked yesterday what he thought about McCarthy's latest call-up, Koeman said: "The player is not fit. He is not involved in team sessions.

"I think to have a call-up, he needs to be close to being fit, but it is a little bit the same story as what happened last time.

"We spoke to James and my advice to him is to stay here, do training and be fit as soon as possible - but the final decision is by the player."

Asked if he had spoken to O'Neill about the situation, Koeman added: "No, it's not necessary, because we have the contact between the medical staff.

"If the manager does not take the right decision, maybe he can take the good advice of the medical staff.

"The best for everybody is first be fit and train with your club, and then you are ready for the national team - not vice versa."

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