James McCarthy’s inclusion in Republic of Ireland’s 23-man squad for Euro 2016 is not in doubt despite his latest injury setback.
The Everton midfielder, who looked fit and back to his best on the final day of the Premier League season when he scored in the 3-0 win over Norwich, will not feature for his country in the friendly against the Netherlands on Friday after suffering a recurrence of a thigh injury.
However, the latest setback is not thought to be serious and the 25-year-old will hope to be fit for Tuesday’s pre-Euro 2016 warm-up game against Belarus.
Boss Martin O’Neill knows McCarthy is a vital player in his line-up, when fit, and he seems certain to go to France – even if he fails to feature before the tournament in a green shirt.
He told reporters: “If James doesn’t play in any of the two games, but feels that’s all it is – the scans have been pretty clear – yes, I think James has done enough to be in to be in the 23.
“He’s been a major part of proceedings and that would be a type of situation that I would certainly look at and feel, well, if this is just an injury that just needs a little bit of extra time, and he has played a lot of games for Everton.”
The Ireland boss added: “I watched him recently when he played very well against Watford, scored a goal and scored another goal just in recent times – not just that, but his overall performances were fine and he has had a run of games – then perhaps those extra couple of days might do him the world of good.”