Seamus Coleman has thanked the Everton fans for the rapturous reception he received on his first-team comeback against Leicester on Wednesday.
Coleman played the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 win on his first Everton appearance in 10 months following that horrific leg break last March.
Most supporters assumed he would start from the bench or, if he did start, come off midway through the second half.
But Coleman, somehow, found the energy to not only last the full game but put in an all-action, barnstorming display that belies the fact he has been sidelined for the best part of a year.
The 29-year-old gave a reminder of how much we have missed him, while putting some his teammates to shame with the kind of performance we have rarely seen from the boys in blue this season.
Coleman was deservedly given a warm cheer from the Gwladys Street end at the final whistle and the Republic of Ireland defender was quick to show how grateful he was for their backing.
Speaking to the official site, Coleman said:
“It felt brilliant to be out there. I am delighted to be back and to put the jersey on again. But most importantly, we got the win. That makes it all the better.
“I heard the songs. I did have to switch off from the excitement before the game. I’m so grateful for the reception that I got but I had a job to do and I wanted to make sure I played well.
“But now I can really appreciate it and the support I have had from day one from both Everton and Ireland fans – it is something I will always remember. It was just a very special night.
“I found out a couple of days ago from the manager [that I was starting]. I had been preparing for that moment for the last 10 months. The manager said at half-time to give them a nod when I started to fatigue, but I just told him there was no way I was going to get tired.
“He told me to use my head and be sensible but I’d been waiting 10 months so there was no chance I was going to tire - although I did blow up a little bit at the end!”
With Everton’s next game - at the Emirates Stadium no less - in just three days time, Coleman may be taken out of the firing line just to ease his way back after such a long lay-off.
Coleman, understandably, is desperate to play but accepts that decision is out of his own hands:
“I want to play against Arsenal, of course, but nowadays with sport science and things like that it’s a lot more analytical.
“Back in the day, you would be thrown back in and left to keep going.
“But we have a good team here behind the scenes who know what they are doing. I am just happy to be back out there. When the manager needs me, I’ll be ready.”