James McCarthy is expected to be fit for the Republic of Ireland’s upcoming Nations League games, despite limping off in Crystal Palace’s pre-season friendly against Oxford United last night.
McCarthy needed treatment on a knock to his knee during the first half of Palace’s 2-1 win and was substituted as a precaution.
However it’s understood the injury isn’t serious and shouldn’t prevent the 29-year-old linking up with the Irish squad in Dublin on Sunday.
The news will come as a major relief to Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny ahead of his opening games in charge against Bulgaria next Thursday and Finland the following Sunday.
OTB Sports' Nathan Murphy said on OTB AM this morning that the injury concern had been blown out of proportion.
"I was talking to some people around Palace, it was just a precaution, he's meant to be perfectly fine, and they don't expect there to be any great issues.
"It was a 50-50 challenge, he got a bit of a jolt to his knee, but they just took him off as a precaution. Even a precaution, obviously we're only a week away from the game, the concern would be that the club maybe look at that and think 'We don't want him travelling', but there's no reason why he can't.
"The injury isn't in any way serious."
Kenny singled out McCarthy for praise at yesterday’s squad announcement
, saying "He has an exceptional range of passing. I don't think we have utilised him in his best position a lot. We haven't utilised his talent overall and injuries have prevented him becoming sort of regarded as the best midfield player of the generation which in my mind he is.”
"He's only 29 now so even some of his best performances might be ahead of him if he can stay fit. If we get him facing the goal and get the ball to him in midfield with the speed that we've got, attacking options and the speed, it could be a good combination."
McCarthy hasn’t played for the national side in almost four years, with the most recent of his 40 caps coming in the 3-1 win over Moldova in late 2016.
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