'No quick-fix for Coleman at Goodison'
Kevin Kilbane believes that Séamus Coleman has to tweak his game to make sure he comes come through a rough patch in his career.
Coleman has been the subject of criticism from Everton supporters this season and boss Marco Silva made a big call for their last Premier League game when the 30-year-old was dropped to the bench, Coleman also left out for last week's FA Cup match, and there's no sign of Coleman being reinstated to the starting XI this weekend.
That's already fed speculation that rival clubs could try to bid for Coleman if he remains frozen out and becomes unhappy, while the form of Matt Doherty at Wolves has also placed Coleman's position at right-back with Ireland in peril.
Kilbane, a former international team-mate of Coleman, feels that the Everton defender will not be omitted by Mick McCarthy and he sees Doherty playing for Ireland at left back so both men can be accommodated.
But ex-Toffee Kilbane knows there is no quick fix for Coleman at Goodison Park.
"I have been to Goodison Park a fair bit this season and I genuinely haven't heard a lot of things being said towards him," he said.
"The worst thing is that because of the position he plays, he is very close to the touchline on both sides, so he may be getting that. Was he dropped or was he left out to give someone else a break?
"I think he'll be fine, but Séamus' game has always been about dynamic running, that has been a massive thing in his career. He's touching 30 now, so you get to a stage where you have to modify your game anyway, that's the thing.
"I think he will be fine, his positional sense and everything has improved unbelievably over the last six years, so that is the thing he needs to focus on for the rest of his career. It won't be possible for him to continue going forward as relentlessly as he gets older," added Kilbane, who feels that Coleman has not yet hit the levels he was at before he broke his leg, while on Ireland duty, in 2017.
"I have not seen Séamus being as dynamic, whether that is the injury or whether that is mother nature catching up with him, I don't know.
"I don't think he is getting into as many goalscoring positions as before, and that might be down to the manager. When he played under Roberto Martinez, he was literally told, 'you go and do what you want, you go and get into goalscoring positions, so you would sometimes find him in the six-yard box, often you'd see him getting to the byline, so much depends on what you are told tactically by the manager.
"So I have not seen the player I saw three or four years ago but I don't think that is down to the injury.
"Personally, when he is getting to the age he is at, I think he has to modify his game because he can't do what he was doing when he was 26, 27. That happens to every player. It is whether he can modify his game and keep it at the level it has been at."
Kilbane is keen to see Doherty, in superb form for Wolves, in the Ireland side but not at Coleman's expense.
"Matt Doherty's form suggests he should be in the side, that is the way it is, and there has to be a way to get them both into the side, whatever system Mick decides to play. If it is a back four, does he play one of them at left-back? It would seem Matt Doherty is best equipped to play left-back because he has played a lot there before," added Kilbane.
"We have not got an abundance of players playing in the Premier League and he has been our best player, he has been outstanding. I don't necessarily think you can drop Séamus Coleman because what benefit would that be to us?
"How many players have we had who have been playing at a level Séamus has been at? I think there needs to be a way to fit them both into the side. The logical thing to me is to play Matt at left-back."
Kilbane also fears that James McCarthy, yet to play for Everton since his leg break 12 months ago, faces a battle. "His mentality will be getting fit and getting into his club side. Playing games, getting fit, that's crucial," said Kilbane.
"There is always that mental thing, I have seen lads when they have come back from bad injuries, getting that first, serious challenge out of the way. It is a mental block he is going to have to get over, when he is back playing consistently over a number of games."