Ronald Koeman said he is not interested in Roy Keane’s comments about James McCarthy as the tension between the Toffees and the Republic of Ireland over the midfielder continued.
Koeman has previously been critical of Ireland’s handling of McCarthy, who has returned from previous international breaks having aggravated hamstring and groin injuries.
Koeman has clashed with Republic boss Martin O’Neill over the matter but it was assistant Keane who weighed in during this international break.
Keane said: “James seems to be getting a lot of injuries at Everton, so I don’t think we’ve anything to worry about in terms of how much we push James.
“To be fair, the medical staff are overseeing all of it and they’re in contact with Everton and all their scientists. I think they’ve more scientists involved now than there needs to be.”
McCarthy was in the Ireland squad despite not having played for his club yet this season because of a knee injury but was not involved in either of their matches.
Koeman said: “I don’t know what Keane said about the situation. I’m not interested in his comments.
“The player had several problems physically and we tried to solve that problem. He’s now back. For the first time they did a good thing not to use the player in the state of fitness that he is.
“We’d like to bring him back, he’s a good boy, an important player for us, but we don’t take risks. That’s good for him, that’s good for us and let’s hope he will be totally fit and available for next weekend.”
McCarthy will not be in the squad for Sunday’s Premier League game against Brighton but will play in an under-23 game against Wolfsburg on Tuesday and could be included against Arsenal next weekend.
Koeman will have a decision to make in defence, with Ashley Williams under pressure following mistakes for Everton and Wales and Phil Jagielka now fit again following a hamstring injury.
Koeman reported some of his players had returned from international duty with knocks but there are not expected to be any new absentees from the squad.
While Williams will try to shake off the disappointment of Wales’ failure to reach the World Cup, Gylfi Sigurdsson returned buoyant after helping Iceland qualify.
Koeman will hope the change of scene can help inspire a turnaround in fortunes for his side, who sit 16th in the table after four losses in their last five league games.
The Dutchman said: “Sometimes an international break is good for everybody and of course Gylfi qualifying for the World Cup, that gives always a good boost to the player and that’s important that they come back with a lot of positives. But we have also players who haven’t qualified.”
Koeman, meanwhile, ruled himself out of contention to become the next Holland boss after their failure to qualify for the World Cup.
He said: “I’m not surprised that they put my name in because they did the same some years ago. But I’m Everton manager and that’s the important thing and nothing else.
“We have other business to do with Everton. We need to win and we need to change our situation in the table and that starts this Sunday. That’s the priority for me for the long term.”