Everton must take responsibility for the recurring injury problems of midfielder James McCarthy, who is a doubt ahead of crucial World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales, according to Ireland assistant coach Roy Keane.
McCarthy was called-up by Ireland despite not featuring for the Merseyside club this season due to a persistent knee injury and an increasingly tetchy stand-off over the fitness of the 26-year-old has developed.
“James seems to be getting a lot of injuries at Everton so I don’t think we’ve anything to be worried about in terms of how much we push James,” Keane told a news conference.
“The medical staff are overseeing all of it and are in contact with Everton and all their scientists. I think they’ve more scientists involved than there needs to be.
“I always think clubs, as much as they look at what we’re doing, they certainly have to have look at what they are doing themselves. But James seems pretty upbeat and we’re glad to have him here.”
Manager Martin O’Neill said his medical staff are evaluating McCarthy’s fitness on a “day-by-day” basis ahead of Friday’s qualifier at home against Moldova.
Ireland are currently in third place on 13 points in Group D, one place and one point behind Wales who occupy the playoff spot with two matches remaining.