Koeman says James McCarthy won’t play against Austria

Everton manager says midfielder will stay at club to recover while FAI haven’t confirmed

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has said James McCarthy will not link up with the Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifier against Austria. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has said James McCarthy will not link up with the Ireland squad for the World Cup qualifier against Austria. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

 

Jon Walters, James McClean and Darron Gibson all made late appearances on the last day of the Premier League season as John O’Shea almost certainly played his last top flight game in England.

The Waterford man, who made his league debut for Manchester United almost 16 years ago and won his first title the following season, played all 90 minutes as Sunderland served as extras at a title celebration and send off for John Terry in Stamford Bridge – a game the champions won 5-1.

With Harry Arter sidelined by a dead leg, Shane Long ruled out by a broken bone in his foot and James McCarthy having apparently withdrawn from the Ireland squad for the forthcoming international games, Martin O’Neill will have been pleased to see his two most likely scorers feature from the bench along with Gibson who might yet come into the reckoning, at least as cover, for the first time in a year.

The FAI has yet to confirm McCarthy’s decision to stay away but Ronald Koeman was fairly clear about the situation as he saw it ahead of the trip to Arsenal with the Everton boss observing: “He will stay (at the club for these Ireland games). He spoke to the manager and they took the decision he will not go to the national team. In my opinion that is a really good decision he needs to recover and get ready for pre-season.”

The midfielder’s future at Goodison Park has been the subject of widespread speculation over the past few days with reports suggesting that Koeman is happy to let him leave for a fee of around €23 million with Newcastle and West Ham amongst the clubs said to be interested.

His current manager publicly insisted, however, that the 26- year-old remains a part of his plans. “Of course I want to keep McCarthy because all the times he was really fit and on his level most of the time he was a starting player,” he said. “But it was really difficult because he had a lot of injuries and that makes it difficult for him and the manager also.”

McCarthy’s absence would make Glenn Whelan, who played 90 minutes for Stoke in their 1-0 win at Southampton, a firm favourite to start in the World Cup qualifier against Austria. Arter is expected to be fit for the game and could also feature in a midfield that will most likely include Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady, both of whom were included in Burnley’s starting 11 against West Ham.

Kevin Long got another 90 minutes in the game with Stephen Ward also featuring from the outset. Marc Wilson, meanwhile, played 90 minutes for West Brom before being replaced in the dying seconds of the defeat to Swansea. And Manchester United’s Kieran O’Hara was one of a number goalkeepers of interest to Martin O’Neill who spent the afternoon on the bench.

With Jose Mourinho handing a first senior start to 20 year-old Joel Pereira, the Irish under-21 international was named amongst the substitutes.

Ricchie Towell, meanwhile, has been given a 12-month contract extension by Brighton. Chris Hughton said last week that the midfielder, whose deal now runs until 2019, is likely to spend next season on loan to a Championship side.

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