Seamus Coleman says his motivation is to be an inspiration for teammate James McCarthy as the midfielder begins his long road back to recovery.
It is with a cruel sense of irony that, in the week Coleman makes his comeback from a broken leg, McCarthy suffered the same injury.
The Ireland midfielder sustained a double leg fracture against West Brom last weekend after an accidental collision with Baggies striker Salomon Rondon.
The 27-year-old underwent surgery earlier this week and now faces up to a year on the sidelines.
Just 10 months ago, Coleman found himself in the same situation when he was injured playing for Ireland against Wales.
The defender was watching from the stands at Goodison on Saturday but quickly went to the dressing room to comfort McCarthy when he realised the nature of the injury.
Speaking to the official site after making his comeback for the U23s on Tuesday, Coleman says he wants his recovery to be an inspiration for McCarthy during the difficult few months ahead.
“There wasn’t anything that came flooding back to me, or flashbacks, I was just devastated for my best friend in football. It is a big shock for him and a big shock for his family.
“It is probably going to give me the motivation to be as good as I can possibly be to show James that there is a way back from it.
“Every day I go out, every week I go out, I am going to play the best I can so that he sees there is a way back.
“That is my motivation now. I have seen him and he will be back there is no doubt about that.
“I will be there for him, if I can play as best as I can then he can see me on a Saturday on Match of the Day setting up goals, scoring goals, that is the perfect motivation for him.
“My interviews have probably changed a little bit since his injury because that is now my sole motivation for him.”
Coleman is realistic and concedes McCarthy will go through some dark times during his recovery.
However, he is also confident there is a support network in place, from within the club as well as with McCarthy’s friends and family, to lift him during those low moments.
When asked whether rehab can be a lonely place, Coleman added:
“It is but we have great people at the club. The physios are great. I personally worked with Carl Howarth for my period. He was great with me.
“They are upbeat, the lads were great. Everyone is different and he will have good days and bad days and little targets you have to reach.
“Any little aches and pains that he is feeling he can bounce them off me and they are clear in my memory.”
“Nowadays all you have to do is look at the likes of Luke Shaw, Aaron Ramsey, Ross Barkley, myself.
“Obviously I need to get back playing week in, week out to show that I am back.
“It is a very traumatic injury to look at, but nowadays the recovery is quite straightforward.
“It is a good topic for newspapers to say, ‘will he ever play again?’ none of that nonsense. It would have to be extremely bad for that. Thankfully things are okay in that regard.”
Switching back to his own comeback and Coleman was quick to thank everyone for all the support he received during his recovery.
The former Sligo Rovers defender is not your typical modern footballer and remains extremely grounded despite the fame and riches football has given him.
He is aware of just how lucky he is to be a professional footballer, something which I sense gave him a sense of perspective during his recovery.
“I have had unbelievable support from everyone – everyone in Ireland, everyone at Everton, my family, every little fan who has sent a letter or card they didn’t go unnoticed.
“All that gets you through it and back out on the pitch, but, no, there was never any doubt whatsoever.
“There are people in worst situations than me – I had my family around me, my little girl and my wife and my mum dad, brothers, my wife’s family and I got to spend some time at home. not everything was bad.
”As a footballer you want to play games, but I also appreciate how lucky I am. There are people in worst situations, I just cracked on, got my head down and in a weird way I enjoyed the journey and enjoyed the challenge. I am back now.”