Is It Time To Look For The Alternative To Seamus Coleman

The Everton captain has served the club admirably for the best part of a decade now, so to pose this question may seem somewhat blasphemous. Every game he goes in to you can see what it means to him. In almost every interview he has given he mentions how the fans yearn for silverware, so he is acutely aware of what the fans want from the team. Is he capable of producing that quality on the pitch after the horrendous injury he suffered playing for Ireland? It has been shown in spells but he is not bringing the consistent form which he was showing in previous years and even once carried him into a premier league team of the year alongside his teammate and opposite full back Leighton Baines. Baines was always seen as the classier operator but there was a steely determination about Coleman’s play that really resonated with the Everton faithful, which is why they will all be rooting for him to get back to his best, flying up and down that right hand side.

Towards the back end of last season Seamus seemed to have his mojo back, linking up on the right flank with Richarlison playing some of his best football in years, silencing some of the doubters in his own fan base. Memorably scoring a goal at home against Brighton and running with a finger on lip gesture to the Gwladys Street as if to say: “I am not finished yet!” and why should he be, despite his longevity it seems to be forgotten that he is still only 31 years old.

Everton do though have a young heir to Coleman’s right back berth waiting in the wings, in the form of Jonjoe Kenny. The young full-back from Kirkdale is currently impressing on loan at Schalke; a move which turned a few heads on Merseyside but it is one that is looking like paying dividends. He has even scored his first senior goal there and the Schalke fans have taken to him with his gritty performances and willingness to fly into a tackle. Qualities which endear him to Everton fans alike. Hopefully he can bring the form back to Finch Farm and challenge Coleman for the spot for the coming years, as well as learning from the captain’s experiences. Kenny is a local lad himself so it certainly will not be lost on him what it means to wear the blue shirt.

The challenge for Coleman in the more immediate future is the loan signing Everton acquired in the summer. Frenchman Djibril Sidibe from Monaco, this deal comes with an option to buy at the end of the season. Sidibe had his chance this weekend at home to West Ham, and he took it in style looking comfortable against Felipe Anderson, who on his day is one of the trickiest opponents in the division. So when he was taken off at half time perhaps credit has to go to Sidibe for giving him such a difficult 45 minutes. The Frenchmen also had his fair share of attacking play linking up with Theo Walcott on the right hand side, Walcott looking rejuvenated after his blow to the head against Manchester City…  Sidibe though is a seasoned professional so it should not come as a surprise that he has taken the chance when afforded it. The performance was one of many top performances from the Everton side in the 2-0 victory, so it remains to be seen if he will be a consistent performer but he has pedigree at the top level so it looks promising. A world cup winner with France and a part of the swashbuckling Monaco side that went all the way to the Champions League semi-finals back in 2017, before unfortunately being ripped apart by the big spenders across Europe, so looking forward for Everton fans it looks like the right back position will be left in more than capable hands should Sidibe retain his place for the rest of the season.

After the week Coleman had following the Burnley game and his sending off there, he was also sent off for Ireland in the international break. This could be seen as a coincidence or misfortune but I would say that it could be Coleman’s legs beginning to deteriorate and just being slightly later in to challenges than he has been over his Everton career. I think it is time to give Sidibe a good run in the position perhaps build up a partnership with Walcott up the right hand side. It will however be vital to keep Seamus in and around the squad as his desire and leadership is something that will be important in the dressing room, and if he is called up on to play again I am not overly worried, he will still be capable of putting a performance in but I think the fixture load may be too much. A great servant but it may be time to bed in a successor.

Stephen Smith

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