Seasoned Seamus Coleman now not too shy about coming forward

Everton fullback enjoys being encouraged to attack by Giovanni Trapattoni

Séamus Coleman: ”It’s probably my main attribute going forward there’s no one holding me back.”

Séamus Coleman: ”It’s probably my main attribute going forward there’s no one holding me back.”


We got another intriguing insight into the ways of Giovanni Trapattoni yesterday when the Italian revealed that he has, good-naturedly we presume, informed James McCarthy that: “I will punch you in the face if you don’t stop being shy.”  

In the unlikely event he meant any of it literally then Seamus Coleman might well be next in line for a roughing up from the veteran manager but when Trapattoni added that he had gone on to tell the Wigan midfielder: “you must dominate games by saying: ‘I am James McCarthy,’” the threat to the Donegal man sharply receded. On the pitch at least, self assertion is not exactly a problem for him.

The Everton right back has been one of the team’s real success stories in recent months. Less than a year after he was left behind when the team headed to the European Championships, he has now all but made the position his own in this Ireland team. There are those who argue that the Italian, having ignored him for too long, simply had to give him his chance when injuries in other areas stretched his resources but the truth seems rather different.

Trapattoni might well be accused of mistreating Marc Wilson and somewhat mishandling the left back position but Coleman, it can be argued, has been brought rather smoothly to the stage he is at now.

A couple of years back, the Carling Cup of Nations was supposed to aid the development of a new generation and Coleman, who started the games against Wales and Northern Ireland before coming on against the Scots was perhaps its biggest winner.

Around that time Trapattoni routinely insisted just he was on the lookout for just the sort of full-back that Coleman could be but that his lack of first team experience in the position for Everton meant he represented too much of a gamble at international level.

Sure enough, his inexperience was still there for all to see when he did get his chance against Germany with Coleman looking good even against the some of the world’s best when pushing forward but occasionally not nearly so clever on the defensive side of things. Since then, a prolonged run of Premier League games and another three for his country have helped him to grow further into the role.

Against Sweden progress was evident with Coleman more measured when weighing up when to attack, more on top of things when it came to the defensive sides of things.

He was, he says, pleased with his performance, singling out: “one time when I ran it out for a goal kick (under pressure) and another time when I got myself in a bit of a mess but got myself out of it.”
The latter involved Zlatan Ibrahimovic who looked to set to capitalise on the Irishman’s mistake out wide only for Coleman to recover with a well made challenge. “When you’ve a player as big as that running down on you it’s not easy,” he says.

Wilson was, in fact, the more offensive of the two full-backs in Stockholm but there may actually be more required of Coleman on that front this time out. The player insists, however, that Trapattoni is always encouraging but ultimately trusts the newcomer to make the call himself.

‘Pick my moments’
“He likes me to get forward as much as I can,” he says of the manager. “When we were playing Sweden I had to pick my moments but it’s probably my main attribute going forward there’s no one holding me back.”

“It’s just like Everton really, I don’t just fly forward and if Bainsey (Leighton Baines) goes I have to tuck in. Likewise, if Marc Wilson is gone on the other side, I’ll not be going anywhere. We get forward as much as I can but I’m not running forward aimlessly, it’s going forward with purpose.”

“Purpose” would fit in rather well with the list of attributes Trapattoni is always saying he wants to see from his players but a sense of that, like so many other things, comes with experience and suddenly Ireland is a lot shorter on that.

The long term loss of Richard Dunne certainly seemed a major blow to the defensive side of things before Friday and Coleman hopes the Aston Villa defender can still return. In the meantime, he says, it is up to the young players to show their worth.

“We need to step up now, the younger lads need to step up and show we belong on the international stage. But as you saw on Friday, James McCarthy could play week in week out on the international stage. He’s a top player. James McClean was brilliant and the likes of Robbie Brady are there, wanting to get in. We’re not that young now, we’re 22 or 23 and we need to step up and be counted.

Tonight’s game might, he feels, could be the perfect time for them. “Playing at home is an advantage and I think if we play with the confidence we did on Friday on Tuesday then we can win the game. Obviously they are confident, they had a good win on Friday so they’ll be well up for it but we want to be winning our home games. (the record is disappointing) but we can change all that. It’s a massive game, bigger than Sweden really, but it will be a great night at the Aviva if we can win.”