The two coaches have disagreed previously, mainly over how James McCarthy has been handled whilst on international duty with O’Neill’s side, and during his weekly press conference earlier today, the Dutchman added fuel to the fire.
Koeman told journalists that O’Neill “did not protect” McCarthy after calling the midfielder up for the recent World Cup qualifier against Wales.
McCarthy was named in the starting line-up for the 0-0 draw in Dublin, but pulled out during the warm-up, something Koeman seems far from unhappy about.
But O’Neill isn’t the kind of man to shirk a challenge and not stand up for himself, and earlier this evening, via the FAI, the former Celtic manager issued this response:
“Once again the Everton manager, master tactician of the blame game, has struck out in his comments today, criticising both myself and James McCarthy.
“Perhaps a review of Everton’s pre-season programme might provide some enlightenment.
“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?
“It should be added that James last played for his country on the October 9, 2016 – almost half a year ago. Since that time he has been totally under Everton’s supervision.
“James is diligent and conscientious in his professional preparation.
“Perhaps, in this instance, quiet introspection may serve the Everton manager and his medical staff better.”
Absolutely no words minced there, eh?
It does seem odd that Koeman would seemingly go out of his way to reignite an old feud and it now looks set to run and run.
What do you make of the standoff?
Let us know in the comments section below…
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