Roy Keane’s been in a few arguments this international break. First, the Ireland and Aston Villa assistant coach got into a spat with an old biographer that ended with the writer in the hospital (he fell).
The latest battle, however, is a war of words with Everton. The Merseyside club has a pair of Irishmen, James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman, who haven’t been as available to their country as Keane would prefer out of his players.
[ MORE: Sunday’s Euro qualifying wrap ]
Keane wants Everton to meet with Ireland head coach Martin O’Neill regarding the players fitness and how willing Roberto Martinez might be to send his players on international duty. Everton chairman Bill Kenwright thinks Keane’s comments are “stupid”.
“You always get the impression from Everton that Seamus and James are both barely able to walk,” said Keane, 43.
“So when they actually turn up and they are walking through the reception, you think ‘Praise the Lord, it’s a miracle’,” he added.
Keane suggested that the Everton manager might not be aware of how important the qualifying games are for the Republic.
“I don’t think Roberto has ever played at senior international level,” said Keane. “Maybe he doesn’t appreciate how big it is for us and how big the games are for us.
To be fair to Keane, who is poking and prodding as usual, one player could’ve made the difference in Ireland’s 1-0 loss to Scotland. And qualifying for Europe is a big deal, one that Martinez and many of us can appreciate despite never playing for our country (perish the thought!).
There are two sides to this story, and taking an aggressive approach to resolving it may not be the best idea for Keane. Surely, we’ll find out.