Mick McCarthy insists that Seamus Coleman will retain his place in the Irish side — and the captaincy — regardless of his varying fortunes at Everton this season.
The Ireland manager has also revealed that striker Daryl Murphy has not ruled out a reversal of his decision to retire from international football while, in a further bid to improve the team’s goal-scoring options, McCarthy has spoken with Leeds striker Patrick Bamford who has agreed to meet the manager for discussions about declaring for Ireland.
Seamus Coleman had recently lost his place in a struggling Everton side before returning yesterday for a morale-boosting 2-0 win against Bournemouth at Goodison Park. But, even before that victory, the Ireland manager had made it clear that the Donegal man will remain a key figure in his plans.
“He’ll be fine, he’ll be alright, Seamus,” said McCarthy, who has been in contact with Coleman since taking up the reins from Martin O’Neill.
I’ve no worries about him at all. He’s such a good player, such a great lad and there is no problem. Even if he wasn’t playing, I’d have no worries about him. I remember being in that situation at Millwall and not playing. Big Jack picked me every time I turned up. Because he could rely on me. I know I can rely on Seamus.
“I believe it’s my job to show faith in people even if they’re having a tough time. I was shown a lot of faith by managers in the past and it’s amazing what you get from it.
“I’m not saying do it for that reason, I don’t. Is it learned behaviour? I think it is. Suddenly you’re not playing for a couple of games and the international manager doesn’t call you, that’s not good. I didn’t get that. I got real support from Big Jack who picked me and played me. Even coming back from Lyon I ended up playing and captaining the side in the World Cup. I’ve experienced that level of faith in your ability and what you do.
“Seamus has been a super player and he still is. You could argue Matt Doherty is playing well for Wolves. But Seamus is the captain and, if he’s fit, I’ve got total faith in him. My captain? Why not? I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t to be.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy revealed that, just last Friday, he told his former Ipswich Town striker Daryl Murphy that he wanted him to leave the door open to a recall to the Irish team. The 35-year-old Nottingham Forest man announced his international retirement a year ago but, while McCarthy accepts that combining club and international commitments is a significant challenge at that age, he still thinks the Waterford man could have a role to play.
“I spoke to Daryl and just told him that maybe that retirement might be put on hold, so you never know,” he said. “He was, ‘It’s tough playing games every week’. I was ‘Ah shut up, just come in and play and get on with it’. On his day, he’s such a big powerful presence, he’s a good finisher and he’s a great lad as well. I just told him to be by the phone, just in case. He hasn’t said no.”
McCarthy has also upped his efforts to persuade Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford — battling back from a long-term knee — to declare for Ireland.
I’ve spoken to Patrick,” said the manager. “I was due to go meet him at the Leeds game with QPR last weekend but he was injured and he didn’t travel so I didn’t get a chance. But my intention is to meet him and have a chat. He wants to meet me. I’d take that as a positive. I hope he wasn’t getting me to travel to Leeds to say he’s not interested. That would be really disappointing!
“I do like him. I didn’t like him when he got player of the year in the Championship, because Murphy should have had it, because he scored 27 goals and he was a Championship player and not a player on loan from Chelsea. I haven’t had a chance to tell him (Bamford) that, but he’s probably read it because I said it before. He’s a goal scorer, he’s a proven goal scorer, technically a very good finisher and we haven’t got that many. To be fair, we haven’t got that many that are playing.”
Hence also, McCarthy’s pursuit of another dual eligibility player, Southampton’s Nathan Redmond. “I spoke to his agent but I’ve not spoken to Nathan,” said the manager. “But hopefully I get to meet him. I haven’t had a conversation with him so I can’t be as encouraged as by speaking to Patrick Bamford. But he’d be one I’d be delighted to get if we could.”
Another name on the ‘wanted’ list is Will Keane. “I’ve spoken to him,” said McCarthy of the striker who, on loan from Hull City, marked his home debut for Ipswich on Saturday by scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory over Rotherham.
In other news, McCarthy said that, pending the deal being signed off, he will take his squad to the Algarve in late May for training camp ahead of the Euro qualifers away to Denmark and home to Gibraltar at the start of June and he also confirmed that, following agreement with his club Everton, the experienced Alan Kelly is returning to the senior Irish set-up as goalkeeping coach.