Everton boss Sam Allardyce was full of praise for “superhuman” Seamus Coleman after the defender made a spectacular, lung-busting return to action on Wednesday.
Coleman played the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 win against Leicester, despite it being his first senior game for 10 months.
Allardyce admitted he hadn’t planned on Coleman playing the whole match, but the defender didn’t want to come off and demonstrated his astonishing fitness levels with a 80 yard run in the final minute that very nearly yielded a third goal.
When asked about Coleman at a press conference ahead of this weekend’s trip to Arsenal, Allardyce said:
“It don’t go this far normally but it was almost super-human. I’ve never seen anyone come back from 10 months out and perform like that for 90 minutes.
He’s a great example for the younger players at Everton. If you can sprint 80 yards in the 92nd minute and run past players who are playing every week, that shows his strength.
“He’s also mentally strong. We just have to make sure we can keep him fit and in the team every week.”
Despite his sensational return, Allardyce was also keen to stress a note of caution.
After such a long time out of the game there is a high risk of injury caused by fatigue.
Adrenalin probably got Coleman through the game at Goodison on Wednesday, but Allardyce is wary of letting the defender completely off the leash so early in his comeback.
“We’ve got to have an assessment on where we lie on playing him again. He’s going to say he’s fine but we’re going to take everything into consideration.”
As well as his extraordinary fitness, another aspect of Coleman’s performance was his link-up play with new signing Theo Walcott.
Walcott scored his first goals for the club to help secure the points, but also showed signs of forming a promising partnership with Coleman on the right wing.
As he prepared to return to his former club on Saturday, Allardyce is hopeful Walcott can continue his impressive start to life on Merseyside.
“He’s got an opportunity to be a key player at Everton now. He played 30-plus games last season and scored 19 goals. He can be a pivotal figure for us going into the future. Hopefully he can have as good a performance at the Emirates as he did Wednesday night.
Theo has seen a lot of Seamus and Seamus has seen a lot of Theo over the years. From a distance they know each others game very well.”