The last time Seamus Coleman played for Ireland, he was sent off (2nd yellow card) after giving away a penalty for handball in a game Ireland lost 2-0 away to Switzerland. It was his worst performance in an Ireland shirt. The Euro 2020 campaign was a damp squib really, and Coleman’s performances were average at best throughout. With Matt Doherty sitting on the bench, some Ireland fans were grumbling about Coleman warranting his starting place in the side. Stuart Byrne, the ex-Shelbourne midfielder was on analysis for Off The Ball and had this to say about his performance in the Switzerland game.
“There are a lot of worrying signs there at the moment. In particular, I’d have to say, our captain, Seamus Coleman who looks a shadow of the player that we’ve seen play for Ireland. I think he’s been quite poor for us now in the last few games.”
On the club front with Everton, at the start of the year Coleman was in and out of the Everton side competing with Djibril Sidibe for the right back slot, it was the turn of some Everton fans to grumble, in fact the grumblings about Coleman had in truth stretched back even longer.
Ever since Coleman broke his leg against Wales in March 2017, he just hasn’t reached the consistently high levels of the past, where he was considered the best right back in England outside of the top 4 clubs. A ‘big’ move to one of them or even a club elsewhere in Europe seemed highly probable that Summer.
While the world was in lockdown, many of us non footballers were improving our baking skills, learning a new language or picking up this new technology called ‘Zooming’. For Coleman, it was no different. In an interview with the Liverpool Echo he said.
“While it has been a horrible time for the rest of the world, lockdown meant I could recover (he was injured in March) without missing many games. I worked hard in lockdown and I came back and I feel good, feel fit and it is up to other people to judge my form. I never really get too tied down on that. If I am playing well if I am not playing well, I will always give 100%. I feel you will always have ups and downs but if you keep grinding through it you will get what you deserve. I feel good.”
After starting the first four games for Everton since the lockdown, Everton have done well winning two games against Norwich and Leicester, a 0-0 draw against the then champions in waiting Liverpool (Coleman won man of the match) and a stodgy 1-0 loss to Spurs. All told it has been an excellent return to football for Coleman. Which is very welcome news for the Irish team, with a heap of games coming up in the Nations League and the massive play off against Slovakia. We just don’t have that many players of Coleman’s experience. He played his 314th Everton game in the clash at Tottenham Hotspur and in the Premier League games he has 20 goals and 21 assists from 269 games, impressive numbers.
Coleman says he is learning from “one of the best in history” in Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti and he has come back highly motivated.
“When I go to bed at night, or finish training, and I look in the mirror regardless of how I played, it is about two things: am I a good teammate? Have I given 100% in training? And the answer is always yes. Do I give the ball away? Do I make mistakes? Everyone does, but as long as I can look in the mirror and know that I am giving my all then when Sidibe is in the team then I am supporting him 100% because I want the best for the club. If Sidibe is playing well and the team is winning then so be it. I want to play but I also want my team to do well”.
Coleman looks to have switched to a more defensive player then the attacking defender we knew form the past, The ex League of Ireland player had a sharp eye for goal scoring but he’s settling into a more rounded defender.To see how this might play out in the betting markets, read the expert opinions on Online Betting Guide.
In some unusual news to Ireland fans the right-back gained his UEFA B Licence and was due to get his UEFA A licence before the coronavirus halted it. Everton boss Ancelotti thinks Coleman boasts what it takes to make a successful move into management. Most Ireland fans would take him playing well for the Boys in Green again before worrying if he could be a potential manager of the future.
Words Alan Phelan