Sam Allardyce says Séamus Coleman ‘needs time’ on Everton return

Ireland captain in line to play against Leicester City on Wednesday night

A little over 10 months after suffering a badly broken leg while playing for Ireland, Séamus Coleman has been included in the Everton first-team squad for Wednesday evening's game against Leicester City, although Sam Allardyce has sought to dampen expectations regarding the impact the 29-year-old full back can make in the immediate term.

Everton have been struggling of late with the initial improvement shown after Allardyce’s appointment at the end of November having faded. The team has taken just three points from 18 in the Premier League since the 3-1 win over Swansea in the middle of December.

Goals have again been an issue with too few being scored, and in recent games the team has reverted to conceding too many as well with the 11 they have allowed their opponents in five games ensuring their elimination from the FA Cup and a weakening in their league position despite their actual placing holding up for the present.

Coleman’s return has, understandably in the circumstances, been keenly awaited by supporters but Allardyce insists that the Donegalman is likely to need some to get back to something approaching his best.

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"He is a very important player," said the manager. "But, if and when he does play in the team, he needs time. He has been out an awful long time, as was the case with Yannick Bolasie [who returned after a year out with a knee injury on St Stephen's Day].

“It was such a long period of time out that he cannot be expected to hit his top form immediately. But it is very important to have him back, and to have his influence not just as a player but as a person and a human being.”

Coleman was injured in a challenge by Wales defender Neil Taylor in the World Cup qualifier against Wales in Dublin last March but made a return to action in an Under-23 club game last week. The Irishman played just about an hour and appears to have come through the encounter without any problems.

The former Sligo Rovers player said last week that his friend and team-mate James McCarthy suffering a similar injury had given added impetus to his own campaign to get back playing as he wants to provide reassurance to the midfielder at such a difficult time.

"I will be doing all I can to be as good as I can be so that he can watch Match of the Day or whatever and see that there is a way back," he said last week. "I have no doubt James will be okay. I want to go out there every week and do as well as I possibly can to show James that he will be back and he will be fine."

McCarthy will not play again this season but Coleman’s return will come as a significant boost to Allardyce who admits he needs to turn things around again “as soon as possible”.

“Hopefully, that from here on in, he can have an injury-free run until the end of the season,” says the former England manager.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is an Assistant News Editor at The Irish Times