Everton pressuring Republic of Ireland duo not to play, suspects Keane

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Martin O'Neill's assistant says that "it's a miracle" if James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman are seen walking around in training, given the Toffees' protrayal of their fitness

Everton are putting pressure on Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy to prevent them from playing for the Republic of Ireland, suspects Roy Keane.

Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has not been able to rely on the pair as much as he would like in Euro 2016 qualifying, with the Toffees duo both missing October's fixtures against Gibraltar and Germany before playing against Aston Villa immediately after that international break.

McCarthy also sat out Friday's 1-0 loss to Scotland with a hamstring complaint and assistant manager Keane is frustrated with Everton's portrayal of their fitness.

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"I worry that [McCarthy] is under lots of pressure, particularly from Everton's point of view," he told reporters.

"Every time an international match comes around, it always seems to be Seamus and James who are under pressure. They're turning up or they mightn't turn up, or they're struggling.

"I think Martin has been more than fair when it comes to friendlies. These are big qualifying matches now. Ask most international managers and it's a difficult role when a player turns up and he isn't quite fit or he is struggling; we've had that a number of times with lots of players.

"It's the big downside of international football: you have to be fair to their club and the player but you also want them out there representing your country. It's difficult for James as well. There is a player between the two managers, I know from experience, they're under pressure.

"You always get the impression from Everton that Seamus and James are both barely able to walk, that type of thing. So when they turn up and they're walking through reception, it's 'Praise the Lord'. It's a miracle.

"If it carries on next year, it's going to put a lot of pressure on James. Roberto has never played at senior international level and maybe he doesn't realise how big the games are for us.

"We could argue all day, I just think we need to get the balance right for the qualifiers. I think Martin has been more than good."

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