By Will Butcher
James McCarthy is likely to infuriate Everton after returning to Ireland training ahead of Friday’s clash against Wales, according to a report.
The Times claim the 26-year-old took part in training despite a hamstring complaint that has kept him sidelined in the Toffees’ last two encounters against West Brom and Hull.
Assistant manager Roy Keane was quoted as saying that McCarthy is “very unlikely” to feature against Chris Coleman’s Wales on Friday, but could now play a part after completing a training session.
Everton will be angered if McCarthy plays for his country, after a season that has been hugely affected by injury, allowing the midfielder to make just 13 appearances in all competitions.
The former Wigan midfielder is desperate to help his country in their Group D encounter of the 2018 World Cup qualifying phase, with manager Martin O’Neill suffering from an injury crisis.
Five of Ireland’s squad have pulled out, with Harry Arter, Shane Duffy and Wes Hoolahan joining Newcastle duo Ciaran Clark and Daryl Murphy in declaring themselves unfit.
But McCarthy is keen to keep himself off that list and feature in the middle of the park for his country, despite only seeing out two entire 90 minutes of football this season for Everton.
Ireland currently sit top of their group after wins against Georgia, Moldova and Austria and will be looking to maintain that with all three points at the Aviva Stadium come Friday evening.
In other Everton news, Yannick Bolasie has delivered a key update on his injury.