Seamus Coleman has been at Everton just over a decade and has almost become a part of the furniture at Finch Farm, but even at the age of 30 maintains there’s some unfinished business he has at the Blues.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the right back reminisced on his first few days on Merseyside after his transfer from Sligo Rovers for a paltry £60,000 (which gave rise to the ‘sixty grand’ chant), when he was wracked with homesickness.
“I don’t know what made me get through it. I think it’s either in you or it isn’t. It’s a steely determination, the will. I remember (Sligo Rovers manager) Paul Cook telling me on a Thursday afternoon, they had an offer for me and I was going over to Everton for a medical the next day.
“Instead of being elated I was like... oh (Coleman’s shoulders slump). This was what I had wanted, of course it was, but I was moving away from my family, from my girlfriend Rachel, who is now my wife. I’d never even been away from home. Then all of a sudden you are in this big city.
“I dropped my bags in my hotel room and just climbed into bed. This wasn’t, ‘Oh my God! I’m so excited! I’ve just signed for Everton!’ This was ‘Oh my God... I’m away from home, I’m away from everyone’. I never said it to anyone. I kept it away from everyone, I just tried to do my best.
“I wasn’t depressed, I was just homesick. I didn’t want to mix with anyone outside of training. Of course I mixed with them while I was at the training ground but I didn’t want to do anything else. I just came over here for the football. That was it.”
Coleman was brought to the Blues by former manager David Moyes, and the Irishman has never forgotten his time under the Scotsman.
“The little things were so important then. You weren’t late. You didn’t leave things lying around. If you did, you were told — and that’s the way it should be. It’s important to keep the old school values but I definitely think it is getting harder and harder to do.
“I think I have been brought up the right way. If it is a simple thing like saying hello to someone in the corridor or opening a door, saying, ‘Good morning, how are you?’, just have some manners and say please and thank you when you ask someone for something.
’The younger generation is changing. By no means are they bad eggs but it’s just different and you can pull your hair out at times. That’s why it is a lot harder for managers. Back in the day if I did something wrong, David would let me know.
“Oh God! There were a few! I remember games when I hadn’t played well and in the two or three days after, he would walk past you on the corridor and he would have this look on his face and you’d think, ‘Jesus... he’s not having me at the minute!’
“I’d say there were times when players sank under that pressure. But for me, it was a case of thinking, ‘You know what? He’s right’. What is the point of going home and complaining about the manager when, deep down, you know he is right? So you get your head down, crack on and improve.”
Coleman has featured for the Blues 241 times in the last decade, but has taken stick from the fans especially this season after some indifferent performances. However, the veteran doesn’t bear any grudges and insists that some of the criticism was deserved but feels that better days are around the corner for the Toffees.
“The thing I struggle with now is when I have a bad game. I’ve had more bad games than I would like this season but if I play badly, it’s always down to the leg break. Believe me, I had plenty of bad games before the leg break. I just haven’t played well.
“I live in Liverpool and I am proud to do that. It gives you the best perspective. You know what Scousers are like: if it’s good, they will tell you; if it isn’t, they will tell you. That’s fine - but if we lose a game, I don’t even want to go and get a pint of milk.
“We can’t keep chopping and changing. No, no, no, no. Managers need to implement their own style. Look at Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino. They didn’t hit the ground running. It took them time, one or two years. Marco Silva is a workaholic and we are not far away.
“We get paid a fortune. Fans are working nine to five and Everton is their lives. It’s not a job. It’s their lives. If they aren’t happy with my performances, no problem whatsoever. It’s up to me to improve. You have got to take it. If I get stick on TV or in the papers, sure, that’s fine. It’s part of the job.”
The veteran defender had once thought that he would retire from football and return to playing Gaelic football and never be heard from again, but now has aspirations to get his managing badges. And before that, he would dearly love to win just one trophy with the Blues.
“I have been in touch with the people back home about starting my badges. I wanted to start in the summer that I broke my leg (2017) but, me being me, I thought everyone would be thinking, ‘He must be worried about getting back from his injury.’
“So I parked it until I got back. I might start this summer, we’ll see, but it’s something I’m interested in. I sit at home and study football, I watch managers in training. I try to learn. I’m football mad, really. Football is my life. I want to be a manager. It’s something I definitely want to do.
“My desire is to win a trophy here. When you go out to Millwall in the FA Cup as we did, when you talk about how you react to results, God that was hard to take. This clubs needs a cup run.
“It needs a trophy to get us going. But if managing can happen, then why not? I know it’s not easy nowadays and there are all sorts of top managers out there. But you have got to believe things are possible. In life you have got to have dreams.”
The fans will echo those sentiments - if there is indeed a new era around the corner for the Blues laden with trophies, it would be good to share at least one of those with veterans like Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines and Coleman before they disappear over the hill.