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Premier League: Everton manager Roberto Martinez hits back at Roy Keane criticism

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has dismissed club-versus-country criticism from Republic of Ireland assistant Roy Keane as "complete nonsense".

Keane claimed midfielder James McCarthy and team-mate Seamus Coleman were put under pressure to protect themselves on international duty and that Everton always gave the impression players were "barely able to walk" when asking about their fitness.

Coleman missed Ireland's 1-1 draw in Germany last month, but played four days later in the Premier League victory over Aston Villa.

McCarthy has missed the Republic's last three European Qualifiers but also featured in the Goodison Park win over Villa.

Martinez rejected Keane's accusations and said nothing was further from the truth.

"It is completely nonsense. We have a good relationship with (Republic manager) Martin O'Neill and we keep in touch frequently and share information," he said.

"We are always very proud when our players represent their countries, and the record shows that. Every player at our club is desperately proud to represent their countries.

"A lot has been said - a lot is nonsense. The reality is the conversation between managers of the associations and ourselves has been good and will continue to be.

"The only thing I care about is the players, and we had four players in the Republic of Ireland squad who are incredible characters who just love to play for their country.

Disappointing

"It is disappointing when you see some 'news' that could put that in doubt. All the fans in the Republic of Ireland and other nations should know these players will give their lives to represent their countries and that is something we are very proud of.

"Seamus, Darron (Gibson), James and Aiden (McGeady) have been extreme professionals and that is something we will carry on seeing."

McCarthy was sent home from international duty without playing a match after the Republic's medical team decided not to risk the midfielder's hamstring problem against either Scotland or the United States.

Left-back Leighton Baines sustained a similar injury while away with England, and he and McCarthy are both doubts for Saturday's visit of West Ham.

"James picked up a grade-one hamstring injury against Sunderland and we are assessing him, but we have a bit more time than with Leighton in that we have an extra seven days but we will see how he recovers," added Martinez.

The Spaniard also revealed that Baines was "touch and go" for the weekend, with midfielder Gareth Barry highly unlikely to feature after injuring ankle ligaments at Sunderland.


Headlines for Ireland this week

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  • Premier League: Everton manager Roberto Martinez hits back at Roy Keane criticism


  • Everton manager Roberto Martinez has dismissed club-versus-country criticism from Republic of Ireland assistant Roy Keane as "complete nonsense".

  • Given delighted to see the Republic of Ireland bounce back


  • Shay Given says his Republic of Ireland team-mates are looking forward to returning to their European Qualifying campaign after bouncing back from the blow of losing to Scotland.

  • Premier League: Everton boss Roberto Martinez to lighten James McCarthy schedule


  • Roberto Martinez admits he may have to lighten James McCarthy's workload in order to solve the Everton midfielder's recurring fitness issues.

  • International news: Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill focused on European Qualifiers after USA win


  • Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill remains focused on his side's European qualifying campaign, despite a morale-boosting 4-1 victory over the United States in Dublin on Tuesday.

  • International friendly: Republic of Ireland ease to a 4-1 win over USA at the Aviva Stadium


  • Two goals from Hull midfielder Robbie Brady inspired the Republic of Ireland to a comfortable 4-1 win over the US on Tuesday evening at the Aviva Stadium.

  • International news: Martin O'Neill has given his backing to Republic of Ireland assistant Roy Keane


  • Martin O'Neill has given Roy Keane his backing after the latest outburst from his Republic of Ireland assistant at the weekend.

  • Under-21 international friendly: Russia recover to hold Republic of Ireland in Marbella


  • The Republic of Ireland were held to a 2-2 draw with Russia in their under-21 friendly in Spain on Monday.

  • MLS: Jurgen Klinsmann says Robbie Keane is a role model to young footballers


  • Jurgen Klinsmann believes Republic of Ireland skipper Robbie Keane should be viewed as a role model for all aspiring young footballers.

  • European Qualifiers: Roy Keane accuses Roberto Martinez of pressurising Everton's Republic of Ireland players


  • Roy Keane has accused Everton boss Roberto Martinez of putting "pressure" on his Irish players to pull out of international duty.

  • European Qualifiers: Roy Keane says Republic of Ireland will recover from Scotland setback


  • Roy Keane says the Republic of Ireland must "take their medicine" after defeat in Scotland and come back stronger.

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