Toughen up, Roy tells McCarthy

Keane adds fuel to fire in dis­pute be­tween Eire and Ever­ton’s McCarthy

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International - BY CRAIG HOPE /

Roy Keane says that he “couldn’t care less” about the opin­ion of Ron­ald Koe­man af­ter the Ever­ton boss ac­cused Repub­lic of Ire­land of risk­ing the fit­ness of James McCarthy - and he has sug­gested the club needs to “toughen up”.

The Ire­land as­sis­tant has even taken a dig at Ever­ton’s 21-year bar­ren spell with­out a tro­phy as the war of words be­tween club and coun­try in­ten­si­fied.

McCarthy - who has missed Ever­ton’s last three matches with a ham­string prob­lem - with­drew from the Repub­lic squad to face Aus­tria in Vi­enna on Satur­day af­ter Koe­man urged his mid­fielder to re­main on Mersey­side.

Koe­man claimed last month that Ire­land had “over­loaded” and were “killing” McCarthy af­ter he played all but nine min­utes of their World Cup qual­i­fiers against Ge­or­gia and Moldova hav­ing missed the pre­vi­ous six weeks be­cause of a groin strain.

Ever­ton be­lieve this con­trib­uted to the player sub­se­quently in­jur­ing his ham­string and they main­tain he has yet to re­turn to train­ing.

Ire­land man­ager Martin O’Neill dis­missed Koe­man’s claims as “non­sense”, and Keane is not im­pressed by the club’s at­ti­tude to­wards play­ers rep­re­sent­ing their coun­try, say­ing that they in­stead need to take a closer look at their own train­ing meth­ods.

“We’ve had a prob­lem pre­vi­ously with Roberto Martinez - I think he was slightly over the top,’” said Keane of the for­mer Tof­fees coach.

“This isn’t a crit­i­cism of the play­ers, it is more Ever­ton and their staff, but I al­ways felt their play­ers were go­ing to turn up on crutches or crawl­ing in the ho­tel door.

“Now it looks like we’re go­ing to have that issue again with Koe­man.

“I’m not sure when they last won a tro­phy, maybe it was a good num­ber of years ago. So maybe ‘over­load­ing’ your play­ers is a good thing, it means you’ve been suc­cess­ful.

“But Ever­ton don’t play any Euro­pean foot­ball, they’re out of the League Cup - Nor­wich beat them at Good­i­son - so maybe Ever­ton as a club, their play­ers needs to toughen up a lit­tle bit.

“Dar­ron Gib­son is Ir­ish. He misses a hell of a lot of games for Ever­ton, and he seems to get in­jured at Ever­ton. Maybe they need to look at their own train­ing schedule. We’ve never taken any un­nec­es­sary risks with play­ers. When man­agers come out with com­ments about what we are sup­posed to be do­ing with play­ers, it was so far off the mark you would not be­lieve it. So Ron­ald Koe­man’s opin­ions… they have no issue with me. I couldn’t care less to be hon­est.’

Ire­land cap­tain Sea­mus Cole­man is another on the books at Good­i­son Park, and Keane went on: ‘They’re lucky to have the Ir­ish lads they’ve got there. Tra­di­tion­ally, Ever­ton have al­ways had bril­liant Ir­ish play­ers, do­ing well for the foot­ball club.

“So they shouldn’t be so quick to stop Ir­ish play­ers com­ing to play for Ire­land.

“If a player is fit to travel for a qual­i­fy­ing game - I un­der­stand it’s dif­fer­ent with friendlies - then they should get their heads around that.

“Sea­mus Cole­man, what a player he’s been for Ever­ton. So why would they try to be­grudge Ire­land hav­ing these play­ers avail­able to us?”

Keane was re­minded that he was play­ing for Manchester United the last time Ever­ton won a tro­phy fol­low­ing their 1-0 vic­tory in the FA Cup fi­nal of 1995.

But he hit back: ‘I was out there, yeah, and they were the luck­i­est team on the planet that day, they bloody were. We missed about 10 chances.”

Keane also be­lieves that clubs are happy to use the cache of play­ing in­ter­na­tional foot­ball to their ad­van­tage when it comes to valu­ing their stars, but he says they can’t have it both ways.

“Clubs com­plain about in­ter­na­tion­als but any time they are sell­ing these play­ers, you ring up and it’s, ‘Oh well, he’s an Ire­land in­ter­na­tional’ and that adds on a few mil­lion,” he added.

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