Seamus Coleman has been a great servant for Everton for a number of years. Signed from Sligo Rovers in 2009 for £60,000, he has been the Toffee’s best-value-for-money signing and may even be the best ever value-for-money signing in Premier League history.
The Irishman took over captaincy of the Club after the departure of Phil Jagielka in 2019, and despite results since then being very indifferent, he has been an exceptional captain and leader.
In recent seasons however, questions have been raised about his ability and fitness, none more so than this season. There were countless games this season when Coleman just did not seem good or fit enough to play for Everton. But this is not his own doing, as there are countless points which will be explored in this article.
Leg-break on international duty
Coleman was arguably one of the best full-backs in the Premier League during Roberto Martinez’s tenure as Everton manager. From the start of the 2013/14 season to the end of the 2015/16 season, Coleman made 117 appearances for the Blues in all competitions, scoring 13 goals. He was subject to interest from a number of clubs throughout the three years but decided to stay with the Toffees.
Roberto Martinez told BBC Sport, ‘he is a good example of a footballer with an incredible attitude and appetite for the game … he plays in a demanding position which you need to be good in many areas. He’s one of the best full-backs in world football’.
Coleman was at the peak of his powers, until a devastating leg-break in March 2017 on international duty. Coleman broke his tibia and fibula in his right leg following a challenge by Neil Taylor and did not return to action until 31st March 2018, in a 2-1 home win over Leicester City.
It is safe to say that he has not been the same player following this injury, which is understandable.
The Irishman has been Everton captain since 2019 following the departure of Phil Jagielka, who had been with the Blues for twelve years.
In Coleman’s time as captain, he has been managed by Marco Silva, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez and Frank Lampard. This is not counting Duncan Ferguson and his two caretaker spells. It speaks volumes of the character and the man that Seamus Coleman is as these managers have all praised him as a man and as a captain.
Carlo Ancelotti, who has managed some of the best players in world football and had some great captains such as Paolo Maldini, Sergio Ramos and John Terry had the highest praise for Coleman.
The Italian said that he was lucky to have a player who sets standards for others really high. He said, ‘Seamus is an example for the others. In this sense he is the same as John Terry, Paolo Maldini, Sergio Ramos, all great models for their teammates’.
Much has been documented about how he treats the players and new signings as well. Being the first to welcome them to the Club, making them feel at home and helping them integrate into the area and into the squad, he is an exemplary man and an exemplary leader.
Failed by the Club
Coleman is now 33 years old and is not at the standard that he was a few years ago. The leg-break certainly had a big impact on him, understandably, but his ability and performance has declined with age.
He is not the player he was nine years ago under Martinez, and the Club seem to have forgotten this.
It had been evident for a number of years that the Toffees needed a new right-back, someone to challenge and eventually take-over from Coleman, as Lucas Digne had done with Leighton Baines.
But both Steve Walsh and Marcel Brands, former Director’s of Football at Everton, failed to identify any replacements, as did previous managers. The only right-back that was signed was Djibril Sidibé, who was signed on-loan from Monaco during the 2019/20 season.
The former French international played a total of twenty-five games that season, and whilst he did challenge and push Coleman, he was not an improvement, and the move was not made permanent.
It is obvious as well to many Evertonians, that whilst Jonjoe Kenny is a local lad and a boyhood Blue, he is not good enough for Everton Football Club and needs to be moved on in the summer.
But for the past season or two, he has been the only cover at right-back for Coleman, which speaks volumes as to how bad the Club’s recruitment policy has been since Farhad Moshiri assumed a majority stake in 2016.
The arrival of Nathan Patterson
As just discussed, the need for a new right-back has been clear to see for a number of seasons. And the Blues addressed this in the January window of the season just gone, with the signing of Scottish international Nathan Patterson.
Signed from Rangers for £11 million, he is viewed as the successor to Coleman at right-back. He is a fast, direct full-back, and featured a handful of times for the under-23s, putting in some stellar performances.
He made his Everton debut against Boreham Wood in the FA Cup but was brought off at half-time. He did not make a single appearance for the Blues in the league last season, but a large part of this was due to an ankle problem which he picked up at the start of April, which ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Because of this, Coleman played more games than he maybe expected to, but arguably performed admirably and brilliantly in these games.
Seamus Coleman – an Everton legend?
It seems that Coleman has been hung out to dry on numerous occasions over the past few seasons. His rallying cries, the Board’s ineptitude at finding a replacement and some poor performances have seen him face the wrath of Evertonians.
However, one thing that cannot be questioned is his passion and love for Everton. He always plays with his heart on his sleeve, always gives 110% and is always the first to hold up his hand when something is not going right.
Following the victory against Crystal Palace which secured our safety, the passion which he exhibits for the Club was plain to see. Fired up, kissing the badge and hugging fans, his dedication is undeniable, and it is clear that he loves the Club and wants Everton to be challenging for silverware.
After the victory, Frank Lampard said that Coleman was a ‘warrior’. The Everton manager went on to say that Coleman is ‘one of the best people I have ever met’ following the win over Crystal Palace. He even told Coleman’s two daughters that their dad is ‘the best man I have ever met’.
As Evertonians, no one is more deserving of our gratitude and thanks than Seamus Coleman, and hopefully next season can be the start of something special with Frank Lampard, and one day we may see our captain lift a trophy for our great Club.