Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has hit back at Roy Keane for "saying some stupid things" following the Republic of Ireland assistant’s comments about Toffees boss Roberto Martinez over the management of his international players.
Keane took Martinez to task over his handling of injuries to key Ireland players Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy, who both missed last month’s qualifiers with McCarthy also sitting out this time around against Scotland after reporting with a hamstring problem.
Keane said: “You always get the impression from Everton that Seamus and James are both barely able to walk, that type of thing. So when they actually turn up and they are walking through the reception, ‘Praise the Lord, it’s a miracle’.”
Responding to that, Kenwright said: “I’m a big fan of Roy Keane’s but he does say some stupid things.
“That is just totally unfair, we absolutely love our players going on international duty and we never, ever get in the way of them and Roberto Martinez will be as shocked as everyone at Everton.
“It was an odd thing to say from Roy. But look at Roy over the weekend with the stare at the official (in the Ireland game with Scotland at Celtic Park on Friday).
“I like Roy. He comes to Everton a lot and he’s always welcome at Everton but that was way, way, way out of line.”
Midfielder McCarthy has missed the last three qualifiers through injury, though, including Friday’s loss to Scotland, while Coleman also missed last month’s draw with Germany.
Coleman and McCarthy both played for Everton four days after the clash with the world champions and Keane, concerned that pressure may be being put on players by their clubs, has called for talks between the Republic and Everton coaching staffs.
Keane added: “’I worry that he (McCarthy) is under lots of pressure, particularly from Everton’s point of view.
“Because every time there is an international match it does seem to be Seamus and James under lots of pressure. They’re turning up or they mightn’t turn up, or they’re struggling.”
Everton have Europa League commitments this season and Keane knows of the difficulties of staying fresh from his own playing career, but he hopes Toffees boss Martinez understands the importance of international football.
“There has to be, I think, some sort of sit-down conversation and say, ‘listen, I think Martin’s been more than good enough here, particularly the friendlies but these are big qualifying matches now’,” the former Manchester United midfielder said.
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