Everton manager asked about his disagreement with Ireland counterpart after Merseyside derby
Everton manager Ronald Koeman has suggested that Ireland counterpart Martin O'Neill was misinformed about James McCarthy's 2016-17 pre-season.
The Everton and Ireland midfielder's injury problems, especially around the time international matches are on, have been a bone of contention between club and country, with Koeman having previously criticised the Ireland setup for the way in which McCarthy is used on international duty.
On Friday night, O'Neill issued a strongly worded statement in which he referred to Koeman as a "master tactician of the blame game" regarding the McCarthy issue.
The Ireland manager also added that the player only had 11 days off before pre-season action with Everton after his involvement with Ireland at Euro 2016.
"Perhaps a review of Everton's pre-season programme might provide some enlightenment," said O'Neill.
"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?"
Koeman had responded wrly in a tweet last night, questioning the length of time O'Neill had suggested about McCarthy's time off prior to pre-season.
James McCarthy began his pre-season three and a half weeks after Ireland were knocked out of the Euros. From the master tactician— Ronald Koeman (@RonaldKoeman) March 31, 2017
Following Everton's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby, Sky Sports' reporter asked if the public disagreement with O'Neill had been a distraction for him.
"No of course not. My first job is preparing the team and if I see something really unfair and really badly informed, it's about laughing," Koeman replied.
"My answer was James McCarthy got three and a half weeks of holidays and not 11 days. If you react, please at least [be] well informed about the whole question."