Shay Given may be about to answer Ireland’s call and make a dramatic return to International football in 2014.
If a response to a question on the possibility of a recall for the Donegal netminder by new Ireland manager Martin O’Neill is anything to go by, don’t rule out seeing the Lifford man back in the Irish squad once again.
And fellow Donegal man, Seamus Coleman’s progress at Everton shows no sign of halting, with the right back turning in what many observers thought was a Man of the Match display against Swansea yesterday - topped off by a thunderous 25-yard strike that opened the scoring in the 2-1 victory. Afterwards, Everton boss, Roberto Martinez sang his praises, along with praising Ross Barkley, whose delightful 20 yard free kick sealed the Toffees’ win over a stubborn Swansea side.
Not surprisingly, having scored four goals from the right back berth this season, Coleman is attracting admiring glances, with Everton’s full back pairing of Coleman and Leighton Baines being the envy of many teams in the Premier League. It is now almost folklore at Goodison Park that Coleman is one of the best bargains ever - costing around £60,000 when he crossed the Irish Sea from Sligo Rovers.
The latest club linked with Coleman by the media is Arsenal though the Donegal defender has a long term contract, until 2018, and given the way the Baines transfer saga involving manchester United was handled Everton appear to be signalling under Martinez that they want to build a squad to break into the Top 4 rather than become a feeder club for those already established in those spots.
In an interview in yesterday’s Sunday Independent Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill was high in his praise for Coleman.
“Exceptional, a really exceptional player and one of the best full-backs going,” is how O’Neill described the former Sligo Rovers man.
Former Blackpool manager, Ian Holloway, who took Coleman on loan, has predicted big things for the Killybegs man.
“I think he’s got every potential to play for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, but I believe Everton will go there,” he said recently.
“With Roberto Martinez in charge, I think he’s exactly what he needs.
“He’ll love how the manager plays the game, he’ll learn from him and he’s only getting better and better. There’s not many better full-backs in any other country.”
Speaking in Dublin this week, Martin O’Neill said that he plans to speak to another Donegal man, Shay Given, in the near future and certainly did not rule out a return for Ireland’s most capped goalkeeper.
“Yes of course I would consider bringing Shay back and I plan talking to him and we will see after that,” said O’Neill.
Given, who is currently playing in the English Championship with Middlesbrough - on loan from Premiership Club Aston Villa - has not played for Ireland since Euro 2012.