McCarthy pulls out of Irish World Cup qual­i­fier

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ire­land mid­fielder James McCarthy with­drew from the squad for Satur­day’s 2018 World Cup qual­i­fier with Aus­tria end­ing a fiery de­bate be­tween na­tional coach Martin O’Neill and his Ever­ton man­ager Ron­ald Koe­man over his fit­ness. Koe­man blamed O’Neill for giv­ing 25-year-old McCarthy too much game time in two 2018 World Cup qual­i­fiers last month as he had just re­turned from a groin op­er­a­tion.

O’Neill said the Dutch­man’s claim was rub­bish and ac­cused him of ‘bleat­ing’ even though McCarthy-who has over 40 caps to his name-has only played just over an hour for Ever­ton since the qual­i­fiers. How­ever, on Mon­day the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Ire­land (FAI) is­sued a state­ment say­ing he would not fea­ture and had been joined on the side­lines by three other play­ers.

“In­jury has ruled out Cyrus Christie, Stephen Ward, James McCarthy and Stephen Quinn from the pro­vi­sional squad, while some play­ers will be as­sessed by the FAI med­i­cal staff,” read the state­ment.

Ex­pe­ri­enced de­fender John O’Shea is one of the play­ers be­ing as­sessed and O’Neill will hope he is fit as he has been hit prior to Mon­day by the loss of lead­ing striker Shane Long. Daryl Mur­phy, who scored the equaliser in the 2-2 draw in their open­ing qual­i­fier against Ser­bia, is also a non starter.

Ire­land-whom O’Neill guided to the last 16 of Euro 2016 — are presently level on seven points with ta­ble-top­ping Ser­bia as the Irish bid to reach their first World Cup fi­nals since 2002. —AFP

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