James McCarthy won’t be risked in intensity of Switzerland game
Midfielder to remain at Crystal Palace as he looks to gain more first-team game time
James McCarthy has pulled out of the Republic of Ireland squad for Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland in Dublin. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
James McCarthy has pulled out of Thursday’s European Championship qualifier against Switzerland with Mick McCarthy suggesting that he and the player have agreed that he concentrate on getting more first-team football under his belt at Crystal Palace before attempting to take on the challenge of an international game against one of the world’s best sides.
“James is completely free of injury but the intensity of the Switzerland game was always going to be too much for James and we discussed that,” said the Ireland manager as the news of his withdrawal from the squad was announced on Sunday.
The midfielder played 90 minutes for the club last week in the League Cup after having previously come on in two Premier League games but he was an unused substitute on Saturday when Palace beat Aston Villa by a goal to nil.
McCarthy is one of four players ruled out of the squad for what will be one of Ireland’s key games of the Euro 2020 campaign with Keiren Westwood and Matt Doherty hampered by knee injuries, while Seani Maguire was apparently hit in the eye with a ball struck with force by a Preston team-mate in training on Saturday. The striker looks to be facing a couple of weeks on the sidelines.
“Like James, Keiren Westwood will work away now at his club and we will see how they are before we go to Georgia and Switzerland next month,” says McCarthy.
“It is hard on the four players to miss out for a game as big as the Switzerland match,” continued the manager. “But we have a 24-strong squad now with James [Collins], Cyrus [Christie] and Kieran [O’Hara] coming in and we will get to work on Monday.”
The fact that Collins has been called in ahead of Shane Long, who came on for the tail end of Southampton’s draw with Manchester United on Saturday raises further doubts about the player’s long-term international future.
There was frustration on a couple of other fronts for the manager, meanwhile. Like McCarthy, Jeff Hendrick reverted to the role of unused substitute at Burnley after having started in the League Cup last week. Neither he nor Kevin Long featured in the 3-0 home defeat by Liverpool.
The disappointment of losing Doherty will be offset to some extent, though, by the fact that his first choice Séamus Coleman played 90 minutes in Everton’s 3-2 defeat of Wolves on Sunday afternoon.
And McCarthy will have been positively thrilled by the performances of a couple of his Sheffield United contingent with Enda Stevens having teed up Callum Robinson for a goal at Stamford Bridge before a cross by Robinson forced the error by Kurt Zouma that handed the visitors what had seemed an unlikely point when they trailed 2-0.
Both are likely starters on Thursday and of those selected for the initial line-ups for the games against Denmark and, most recently, Gibraltar, only Robbie Brady is actually missing. Still the manager would surely have been happier had Doherty and McCarthy been fit and in a position to travel over.
The Under-21s, meanwhile, have lost both Michael Obafemi and Nathan Collins to injury with the pair replaced for the qualifiers against Armenia and Sweden by Ross County’s Simon Power and Southampton defender Kameron Ledwidge.
There was some good news too for Stephen Kenny as Brighton forward Aaron Connolly was handed his Premier League debut for Brighton at Manchester City, where his team was already well on the way to a 4-0 defeat. Shane Duffy watched the entirety of the game from the Brighton bench.
REVISED SQUAD: Randolph (Middlesbrough), Travers (Bournemouth), O’Hara (Burton Albion – on loan from Manchester United); Coleman (Everton), Christie (Fulham), Duffy (Brighton), Keogh (Derby County), Egan (Sheffield United), Long (Burnley), Stevens (Sheffield United); Judge (Ipswich Town), O’Dowda (Bristol City), Browne (Preston), Byrne (Shamrock Rovers), Hendrick (Burnley), Hourihane (Aston Villa), Whelan (Hearts), Cullen (Charlton Athletic – on loan from West Ham United), McClean (Stoke City), Curtis (Portsmouth): Robinson (Sheffield United), Collins (Luton Town), Hogan (Stoke City – on loan from Aston Villa), McGoldrick (Sheffield United).