Ronald Koeman has reignited the war of words over James McCarthy's international involvement after urging the midfielder to ignore his latest Republic of Ireland call-up.
The Everton manager spoke to the press in the wake of McCarthy being called up by Ireland boss Martin O'Neill for his side's upcoming match against Austria on November 12.
McCarthy played 90 minutes and 80 minutes of Ireland's two 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova respectively just days after recovering from groin surgery.
However, the 25-year-old sustained a hamstring strain during an Everton training session last week, leading to an angry response from Koeman who alleged that the centre midfielder had played too many minutes too quickly after returning to full training.
And in his pre-match press conference on Thursday ahead of the Toffees' trip to Chelsea on Saturday, Koeman was short in his reply when asked about McCarthy potentially featuring for O'Neill's team in nine days' time.
The Dutchman said: "The player is not fit. The player is not involved in team sessions.
"I think to have a call-up, he needs to be close to being fit, but it's a little bit the same story of what happened last time (with Ireland).
"Of course, you get your call for the international team but it starts by playing for Everton.
"It's always difficult because the player is between Ireland and Everton but I think, first of all, you have to do what is the best for your club. If you're fit, of course you play for your nation, but in his situation he needs to be fit first."
Koeman added that he had spoken to McCarthy over the issue, and offered some advice to the ex-Wigan and Hamilton man over what to do at this time.
He added: "We spoke about what's best, what we want and what I want. I think the player, by himself, is the same - he likes to play for Everton and likes to play well for Everton.
"My advice to James is to stay here, do training and be as fit as possible, but the final decision is the player's."
The 53-year-old also commented on the loss of Idrissa Gana Gueye after the midfielder picked up a one-match suspension following his fifth yellow card of the season in last Saturday's win over West Ham United.
The summer signing is expected to be a big miss for the Blues for the visit to Stamford Bridge, but Koeman stated that he had enough strength in depth to cope without Gueye for one game.
He said: "He's a miss but it's not about one player. We have enough replacements in his position. That's the the kind of decision I need to make."
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