| 9.3°C Dublin

Kenny must call captain Coleman up

Close

Séamus Coleman and Everton have already claimed the scalp of Tottenham away from home

Séamus Coleman and Everton have already claimed the scalp of Tottenham away from home

Getty Images

Séamus Coleman and Everton have already claimed the scalp of Tottenham away from home

Carlo Ancelotti is no fool, so the fact that he has had Seamus Coleman in his Everton team, as captain, as they started the season with two wins from two in the league speaks volumes.

And the form that Seamus has shown, in an Everton side that has begun really well, means that he has to be in the Ireland team next month.

If you pick an Ireland XI of the best players available to you, Seamus Coleman has to be in there. The question is trying to fit him and Matt Doherty in the side and that's not easy. Mick McCarthy tried it last year and it didn't work.

Stephen Kenny has to try it again and have the two of them in the same side: maybe with a new style of play under a new manager it would suit Matt to play higher up the field.

When you make a big change to the system, as Stephen Kenny is doing, you need players with experience. You need them to buy into what you are doing to then sell it to the other players.

You need someone like Seamus to be the leader on the field, someone who implements that style. And that's Seamus all over, he is a leader, not just a captain in name. He's the manager's mouthpiece on the field, and to me, the Ireland side would be better with him in it.

I would play Seamus and Matt, with Seamus at right back and Matt ahead of him on the right, or maybe with Seamus as part of three at the back and Matt at wing back. But it's just a matter of getting him into the team.

It can't have been easy for Seamus to be on the bench for the last two Ireland games. It's very rare for the captain to be dropped at international level - I can't recall it happening in my Ireland career anyway.

I knew players at club level who were the captain but you also knew they could cause problems behind the scenes if things were not going their way.

Seamus is the opposite - a team player, someone who looks after everyone else, not himself.

He wants to make sure the camp is happy. Of course he will have been disappointed not to play, but he would never have shown that. He didn't say a word in the press or get someone to say it on his behalf. He just got on with it as a captain should.

I think Stephen Kenny will have seen that reaction from Seamus, he'll also have seen the lack of energy in the Irish team for spells in the two games and he will see that Seamus can improve that, lift the team with his energy and quality.

Ancelotti tried other players in Seamus's position last season. They looked around at signing someone else and it seemed as if they weren't too sure about Seamus.

But Ancelotti has always come back to Coleman. Seamus will be happy to have fended off that competition but he's also realistic enough to know there will be more competition to come, so he has to stay on top of his game.

I started my career there so I am delighted for Everton that they've had such a good start, two wins in the league and a win in the League Cup as well.

It's been a frustrating club to watch over the last few years, so many false dawns: signing players, getting in new managers, always thinking they can take that next step as a club and always failing to do it. They've tended to fall away and go back to how things were before.

The first sign of progress was getting in Ancelotti, a proven manager, someone with a history of success from the past who still has the respect of top players around the world.

His arrival was a good sign, but he can't do anything without players and he did some good business over the close season.

He kept it simple. He identified what he needed to improve the team and he has got players in. The three midfielders he signed all complement each other and has made the side a lot stronger.

They have always spent big money, but not always well. It's only four years since they spent £22million on Davy Klaassen. They spent money on Alex Iwobi and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

But Everton kept buying players that the top six teams just didn't want, and they didn't want them for a reason.

They were decent footballers, but not the kind of players to make someone like Everton into a top-six side.

Everton thought they were doing well in the transfer market when they were spending money, like £45m on Sigurdsson. But they never stopped to ask why the top teams were not competing for those players.

During this window, a lot of teams had a think about James Rodriguez but just weren't sure about him. He has a good working relationship with the manager from before and that's going to be good for Everton.

Arsenal were supposedly in for Allan when he was leaving Napoli, same with Liverpool and Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford, but Everton got in there and got their business done.

They signed players other clubs do rate, and that will be the difference as you can't keep signing average players. They needed to sign top players to make them a better team, as James has already done.

For a long time, it was all about trying to be a top-six club. I think the Premier League has changed. With what Leicester did last year and Arsenal on the way back, it's more of a top seven now, and Everton will try to make that a top eight.

They have enough about them to compete at least. It was 40 games since Everton beat a top-six side away from home, they've already done that this season by winning at Spurs. So if they can keep that up they will be more of a force this season - with Seamus Coleman as part of it.