James McCarthy comes through Irish training unscathed

Roy Keane said Everton midfielder would need to train on Wednesday to play Wales

James McCarthy at Republic of Ireland training in Abbotstown on Wednesday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

James McCarthy at Republic of Ireland training in Abbotstown on Wednesday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

James McCarthy looks to be back in contention for a starting role on Friday after coming through training with the rest of the Ireland squad without any obvious problems in Abbotstown on Wednesday morning.

McCarthy appeared to play a significant part in the session which Roy Keane had suggested would determine whether he would be regarded as available to start the World Cup qualifier against Wales and the Everton midfielder seems to have done enough to at least keep him in the reckoning some 48 hours or so before kick-off.

Séamus Coleman and Jonny Hayes also featured as all of Martin O’Neill’s remaining players took part in the third training session of the week. Cyrus Christie said that he continues to train as though he might have to start but the Derby right back confirmed that: “Séamus has got through today and that’s a big boost for us.”

Stephen Ward, meanwhile, got to field a steady succession of questions about just how he and the rest of the Ireland defence intend to cope with Gareth Bale. Predictably, the Dubliner was anxious to avoid reducing the threat posed by Ireland’s opponents to just one man.

“He’s obviously one of the best players in the world,” he said. “I think Roy said it yesterday, that it’s very difficult to have a game-plan against these people but I think that we just have to try as an 11, as a unit, not to let him have time on the ball. Get close, get tight, make it uncomfortable for him but I’m sure there will be times in the game where he will have an effect. We just need to try to keep it to a minimum.

“But listen, they’ve got other quality,” he continued. “He’s the main man but they have a lot of other quality around the pitch and we know what a good side they are. We’re under no illusions about how big of a test it is and how tough it’s going to be, not only to stop him but also to beat a very good Welsh side.”

“I think they’ll probably be disappointed with a couple of the points that they’ve dropped but we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves. We’ve given ourselves a great platform in the group to push on, to try and qualify and if we can come through this and get the three points that we so dearly want then we will be in an even stronger position.”

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