Mick McCarthy has said that it’s a straightforward case of lack of game time at Everton which has cost James McCarthy his place in the Ireland squad.
There was no room for the midfielder in the panel the manager announced today for next month’s European Championship qualifiers away to Denmark and at home to Gibraltar, games which will be preceded by a training camp in Portugal.
McCarthy suffered a serious leg break when playing against West Brom in January of last year and, after a protracted spell on the sidelines, is now, according to the Ireland manager, keen to address his club future before the start of next season, with getting back to playing regularly his main target.
“He’s just not been playing,” said Mick McCarthy today. “I did speak to him and I think he wants to sort out his own career and future this summer.
"And I’ve got other midfield players in the team so I’m hardly likely to knock Jeff Hendrick or Conor Hourihane or Glenn Whelan out for him at this moment in time.
Had he been fully fit for the last twelve months it might be different because I think he is one of the best players.
"I think he wants to be fit and healthy and get his future sorted out. And he is fit at the minute because he’s been on the bench.”
McCarthy has also again overlooked Cyrus Christie, a favourite under the previous manager Martin O’Neill who was happy even to play the Fulham man in midfield.
But McCarthy, who clearly regards Christie as a full-back/wing-back, today gave a simple reason for the player's exclusion from the squad.
“Yeah," he said, "Matt Doherty and Seamus Coleman."