Roberto rubbishes rift rumours

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ROBERTO Martinez has rubbished rumours of a rift between James McCarthy and Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

McCarthy is out of Ireland’s Carling Nations Cup campaign with ankle ligament damage sustained in Wigan’s season-ending 1-0 victory over Stoke.

Martinez revealed Latics had sent the relevant medical reports to the Irish camp, a day after Trapattoni said one player, believed to be McCarthy, had not returned his calls ahead of last night’s clash with Northern Ireland.

Martinez insists there is no suggestion of McCarthy having gone AWOL, and that he needs a month-long rest after receiving a knock to the ankle he originally damaged against Bolton last October.

“James had a scan yesterday which revealed first-degree ligament damage in his right ankle,” Martinez told the Evening Post.

“Because of the operation he had earlier this season, it’s clearly an area where there is a little bit of concern for us.

“We passed the results to the Republic of Ireland medical team, and they are well aware of the situation.

“We’re going to work together on this one, and hopefully he’ll have a speedy recovery.

“But he’s not available to play for Ireland at the moment, and I feel he’ll need at least three or four weeks to fully recover.”

Scotland-born McCarthy’s relationship with Trapattoni has been far from eventful, with the former Hamilton man withdrawing from the squad to face his native country in February, fuelling speculation – well wide of the mark – that he would rather play for his homeland.

However, the 20-year-old committed his future to Ireland by turning out against Macedonia in a European Championship qualifier in March.

Trapattoni had earlier this week hinted he was unhappy with one of his players, by claiming: “If they are in hospital or they are dead, that is OK, but if there is an injury they should see our doctor.”