O'Neill hits back at 'master tactician of the blame game' Koeman

O'Neill hits back at 'master tactician of the blame game' Koeman

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has launched a stinging rebuke to recent criticism from Everton boss Ronald Koeman.

The Dutchman rounded on both O’Neill over the selection of Toffees midfielder James McCarthy, saying that the decision had been taken against the advice of the Irish medical staff.

“It was a final decision against the medical staff of Ireland and also against the medical staff of Everton," he said yesterday.

“And there are two people responsible for that. One is the player himself. Finally, if he says, ‘Yes, I’m fit’, okay, but even the player needs protection from the manager and, once again, they didn’t give that protection to the player.”

Martin O'Neill responded to the comments via the FAI website this evening, and left the Everton boss in no doubt as to how he felt about Koeman's assessment of the situation.

"Once again the Everton manager, master tactician of the blame game, has struck out in his comments today, criticising both myself and James McCarthy," O'Neill stated.

"Perhaps a review of Everton's pre-season programme might provide some enlightenment.

"James had a magnificent tournament for the Republic of Ireland last summer during UEFA EURO 2016, playing his last game in very late June.

"He then returned to Everton after a very short break, but only 11 days later, he played his first of three games, all within an eight-day period, against Real Betis, Manchester United and Espanyol. Overloading?

"It should be added that James last played for his country on the October 9, 2016 - almost half a year ago. Since that time he has been totally under Everton's supervision.

"James is diligent and conscientious in his professional preparation.

"Perhaps, in this instance, quiet introspection may serve the Everton manager and his medical staff better."

Tensions between the Everton and Republic of Ireland camps is nothing new, with assistant manager Roy Keane making his feelings known last year.

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