SEAMUS COLEMAN’S burgeoning reputation as a footballer took another Quantum Leap following his man of match performance at Wembley last Wednesday.
Twenty-four-year-old Coleman gave his most impressive performance in the green jersey yet having provided the cross for Shane Long’s wonderful header in the 1-1 draw against England.
Coleman’s defensive capabilities were also apparent in London. His commitment to never give up on a lost cause saw the Killybegs native make no fewer than four telling blocks.
Comparing Coleman to former Italian 1982 World Cup winner Antonio Cabrini, Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni can only see good things in the future.
“Cabrini was a left-back too and he scored goals. Coleman has the potential. He has a good personality and has convinced himself that he can do it.
“But he needs to choose the moment to attack and not to try things near our box.”
Coleman joined Everton from Sligo Rovers in January 2009 having played all of his senior football as a right-back.
Everton manager David Moyes understood the potential of Coleman, but was also aware of the precarious nature of playing someone with limited experience in the back four in the rough and tough of the Premier League.
Moyes placed Coleman initially on the right of midfield, with experienced campaigners like Philip Neville and Tony Hibbert at right-back. Coleman was also loaned out to Blackpool for the latter half of the 2009-10 season.
The former St Catherine’s player has been Everton’s form player for the second half of the season, with excellent showings against both Manchester City and Arsenal in the closing weeks of the campaign from his natural abode.
“I am trying to get to play in an attacking position,” Coleman said of his role of full-back.
“I have always been a right-back and for me it’s a matter of getting more experience.”
His form internationally has too excelled. Since his early days at Emerald Park in Killybegs, Coleman has always shown heart and a willingness to learn.
Recently, his stand-out attribute is possibly the way he is so composed in possession, seldom panicking and selecting the right option time and again.
A naturally attacking-minded defender, Coleman ticks the necessary boxes in what is needed from a full-back in this day and age.
Coleman is now Ireland’s first choice right-back and had commendable showings against Sweden and Austria in March before taking centre stage at Wembley.
“The manager tells me to pick my moments in terms of going forward, but it’s part of my game to go forward as well as looking after the defensive duties,” Coleman said at Wembley of Trapattoni.
“But you will find it hard to hold me back as it’s part of my game to go forward.
“The manager is a man of great experience. He knows the game very well and, for me. He keeps on top of my defensive side but lets me go forward as much as I can and hopefully we can do that Friday against the Faroes.”
Coleman’s international room-mate, James McCarthy, the Glasgow-born midfielder who is qualified to play for Ireland due to his Annagry ancestry, has also been showing his maturity of late.
“We have some great players in our team. People sometimes forget that,” said Coleman.
“James McCarthy is a great ball player, Aiden McGeady is a tricky winger and Shane Long up front is a real goalscorer.
Ireland defeated Georgia 4-0 at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Goals from Richard Keogh, Simon Cox and two from substitute Robbie Keane helped the home side to a comfortable victory.
But regardless of yesterday’s friendly with Georgia, England at the home of football or world and European champions Spain in New York’s Yankee Stadium next week, Ireland’s focus for this end of season fixtures is perhaps the least glamorous on paper.
“So we have players and we are starting to get a run in the team now. That age group is coming through and hopefully, that can lead to three points against the Faroes on Friday.”
“We have had a couple of good results now against Sweden and now England and that gives us a bit of confidence. But the reason we are on this trip is for three points against the Faroe Islands.