herald

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Coleman likes the look of the new Irish talent

Seamus Coleman. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Seamus Coleman. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Another season draws to a close and another batch of changes is made to the shape of the Ireland team.

Seamus Coleman has seen lots of this in his time as an Ireland international: even though it’s just seven years since he won his first senior cap, only three players from the side he debuted with are still attached to the squad.

Time moves on and tonight in Paris it will be a chance for the likes of Declan Rice, Matt Doherty, Derrick Williams, Alan Judge, Shaun Williams, Graham Burke, Shane Supple and John Egan, among others, to either make their debuts or add to their small tally of caps to date.

It’s Coleman’s role as captain to help the new players bed in, also to make sure anyone lacking commitment or an awareness of what’s a stake knows what they are in for, but the Everton captain says he is impressed with the influx of new faces.

“It definitely feels like there’s been a bit of a change with the new players coming in,” says Coleman ahead of tonight’s game in Paris.

“We still have some from the last campaign and it’s so important for us to show those new lads coming in what’s expected on the training pitch, when we put on the jersey to play for our country, and even what’s expected around the hotel, and they have been great.

“It’s up to them to step up and show they deserve to be at this level, and I’m sure they will.

There’s definitely a bit of a change, but the objective stays the same: we want to win every game possible and qualify.”

Coleman was missing from the scene, due to injury, as Ireland tried – and failed – to qualify for the World Cup.

He’s back into the swing of things with his club following a 10-month absence due to injury, though tonight in Paris will be only his second cap since that leg break against Wales. But he feels he can get back to the level he was at.

“I think you’ll always be compared to before the injury now but I feel good, I feel fine,” says Coleman.

“I’ve played a lot of games, I’ve felt at club level I’ve been getting forward every bit as much as I had been, probably had a few chances to score that I’m a little bit disappointed with.

“All in all, my fitness is good. Pre-season will help me massively; the more games the better.”

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