By Matthew Farr
Roy Keane has slammed Everton for failing to look after their players.
Toffees’ midfielder James McCarthy has caused a club v country row after withdrawing from the Republic of Ireland squad to face Austria in Vienna on Saturday.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman had earlier criticised Ireland’s Martin O’Neill for selecting McCarthy, who had only recently returned from groin and hamstring injuries.
McCarthy, 25, has managed just three Premier League appearances this term.
Koeman had expressed his concerns over the midfielder’s match fitness, but Ireland assistant manager Keane has hit back with criticism of his own.
Suggesting Everton take a look at their own injury record, Keane told the Daily Mail: “We’ve had a problem with Roberto Martinez previously – I always felt the Everton players were going to turn up on crutches or crawling in the hotel door.
“They shouldn’t be so quick to stop Irish players coming to play for Ireland. [Darron Gibson] misses a hell of a lot of games for Everton, so maybe they need to look at their own training schedule.
O’Neill was also left unimpressed by Koeman’s remarks, but has not issued a response.
The news of McCarthy’s withdrawal is a setback to Ireland’s preparation for their upcoming World Cup qualifying fixture, having already lost both Stephen Quinn and Cyrus Christie to injuries.
Ireland are second in Group D with seven points from a possible nine, bettered only by Serbia’s superior goal-difference.
In other Everton news, TV pundits have questioned the development and progress of midfielder Ross Barkley.