Everton manager Ronald Koeman had some words of high praise for his rightback Seamus Coleman as he starts on his long road to recovery after undergoing surgery over the weekend. The Republic of Ireland international was injured in the game against Wales late last week and was only discharged from hospital earlier today.
The two spoke on Saturday as Coleman lay on a hospital bed while still in a lot of pain, but Koeman expects the resilient defender to bounce back and return a stronger player.
“It’s a big, big blow for the player and a big, big blow for the Club. It takes time for everybody to come to terms with something like this and, of course, that is felt most deeply by Seamus himself.
“He was in pain when we spoke - it is normal to have some pain after such an injury – and, naturally, he was feeling very down. This is all normal. But he knows he will have a lot of support and the reaction of Evertonians, their thoughts and good wishes and the reaction of so many other people as well who follow the game will mean a lot to Seamus.”
Koeman went on to say that the defender’s work ethic was one of the best he’d ever seen in his long career as player or manager.
“In all my years in football, Seamus is one of the best professionals I’ve ever worked with at any club.
“His dedication to the game, his attitude and motivation are always where they should be and that’s 100 per cent, and he’s like that in training every day as well as in games.
“That mentality will really be helpful to him now in not only coming to terms with what has happened but in setting out on the road to recovery and, over time, in him building himself once more to the level he has maintained over many years here at Everton. That strength of character will be a big, big thing.”
Coleman has been a key component of Everton’s right-sided attack, and has four goals and three assists just this season, having started 247 games for the Blues since 2010/11.
“The length of time he has been at the Club, the kind of player he is, the fact that he takes such a keen interest in the community here – only a couple of weeks ago, I believe, he was at Everton Free School for a game involving Everton in the Community’s Down Syndrome team – all of these things mean that he is held in high esteem by Evertonians.
“And he is valued very much as a player, which makes it really difficult that we are talking about an injury that will keep him out for six, seven months, something like that.
“But I know he will come back strongly, that’s the type of man he is. And he will have support from everyone around him, too, which he knows.
“It won’t be easy what he has to face but he has the character to overcome this, I am sure.”