"It's true I was gutted for 48 hours but that was a very
selfish way to think.
"It was a
good decision, he needed a full-strength team," added McAteer.
The midfielder is playing down his chances of starting against the Spanish.
"I'm half expecting not to play so I
won't be disappointed.
"I think if I
expected to start and then didn't I would be gutted," added McAteer.
With 50 caps looming ahead many believe McCarthy will put
him on the pitch if only briefly.
"It's a big thing," said McAteer, who will celebrate his
31st birthday on Tuesday.
"If it happens, 50 caps would be
McAteer's comments dominated an otherwise quiet day for the Irish squad.
Steve Staunton and Robbie Keane did not train but both seem certain to be fit for Sunday's match.