Seamus Coleman has been talking about his rise to captaining Ireland, the joy of scoring a winning goal and the challenges and social media pressures facing young footballers today.
The 27-year-old scored the only goal in the Republic of Ireland's 1-0 win over Georgia on Thursday as his starring role for his country continues. He discusses a wide range of footballing matters in a long interview with the Daily Mail, starting wth his nervousness at leaving home at aged 20 to join Everton in 2009 and the pressures on young footballers in today's game.
"I sat in my hotel room that first night and I didn't want to be here," he said. "Not in terms of the club — I was blessed that a club like Everton wanted me — but in terms of missing home. I found it tough. And I was 20.
"I think a 15 or 16-year-old coming over from a place like Ireland really needs help. They need someone protecting them or looking after them. It's a big bad world out there in football and it's easy for a young footballer to be sucked into a certain way of life.
"If I see a footballer with a Louis Vuitton wash bag I wonder what that does to others. If you are the only young lad in the changing room without one then you feel that pressure that you need to go out and get one. Even if you don't want one or even like one.
"That's what I think is wrong with football. It's completely wrong. Your job is to train well and play well on Saturday and do well week in, week out. That's your job. Your job isn't to be going out and buying the best of everything just because someone else is.
"How do you change it? I don't know. I just hate the thought of a young player in a dressing room feeling worried because seven of the lads have something that he doesn't have."
Coleman has had his ups and downs in form, including last season when the whole Everton side struggled in what was a disappointing campaign. He recalls how David Moyes's "tough love" approach was beneficial to his progression and he is now working under a manager in Ronald Koeman who can be similarly forthright.
"When you are not playing well the first thing you have to do is realise it yourself," the fullback said. "I grew up in Ireland being told that I was doing things wrong. Then when I got here David Moyes was tough with me too. Really tough, but it was the best thing for me.
"If you make a mistake, you need to do better. If a manager criticises you then he's doing it for a reason.
"The game has probably changed a little in that lads don't like being told but the fact is that you have to be prepared to take it and get on with it."
"Every manager is different," Coleman continued, admitting that he was stung by the criticism he and the Blues received last season. "Roberto played a more open game and made no secret of that. He liked his full backs getting high and unfortunately at times we conceded too many goals.
"This manager wants us to be solid first and then build on that with the quality attacking players.
"It's not a case of one being wrong and one right but we are more solid this season. Every time a manager comes in he puts a twist on things. This one is big on work-rate. He is demanding the best from us.
"[N]ow it's not just four defenders who have to defend. Koeman demands that we all defend, from front to back."
Reader Comments (49)
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1 Posted 08/10/2016 at 14:50:33
I really do respect Jags but he's just too nice a bloke to galvanise others. I suspect Seamus is cut from the same cloth as the Irish RK who was also one committed, talented footballer with no time for posers.
2 Posted 08/10/2016 at 14:55:04
He's looking sharper this season and I agree about him being a possible captain. I want to see him fully back to the form of 3 years ago though.
3 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:05:32
4 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:11:46
Obviously not easily swayed by the 'glitz and glamour' of the EPL. We are lucky to have him as our player and he has obvious captaincy potential for the future.
5 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:31:06
6 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:40:48
There was speculation about Arsenal being interested but never once did he even murmur about a transfer. Solid professional and I agree with Don above; he would make a great skipper, and has the fans 100% behind him and I suspect his team mates too.
7 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:47:03
Also watching his goal the other night, I couldn't understand why the Benny Hill music wasn't accompanying the footage.
9 Posted 08/10/2016 at 17:35:26
10 Posted 08/10/2016 at 17:40:58
Don't just read the snippets in the OP. Click on the link for the full interview.
Always struck me as a solid lad does Seamus and this interview confirms it. Lot of commonsense views about the realities of modern day professional football and the players.
I understand why players sometimes get lambasted and ridiculed for what some see as their diva, self-indulgent lifestyle whilst 'living the dream.' But as Seamus touches on in a couple of themes, it can not be easy for a young lad living away from home, in the macho competitive world of professional sport where it's dog eat dog to survive.
Seamus evidently had a good grounding, probably thanks to his family and community. He had the discpline and desire to succeed, to take on board criticism intended to improve him.
Other kids are not so blessed.
We as supporters would do well to remember that sometimes as we can be very quick to criticise and condemn often without knowing the full details, or even anything at all incidents reported about players.
11 Posted 08/10/2016 at 17:50:10
12 Posted 08/10/2016 at 18:23:52
Also, there is a nice paragraph about how his fiancé came across after finishing studying and how that helped him settle and grow up. They invite youth players for dinner so as not to feel too lost/lonely.
As a man in my early 40s, it reminds me of a time when young players lived in digs with families, and had to graft hard to get noticed and into the team.
13 Posted 08/10/2016 at 19:20:20
My God, if that's the only thing a young man who has just signed a multi-million-pound contract has to worry about, then not a bad deal hey? What should we do with young footballers then, Seamus? Give them nannies, butlers maybe, or make sure they never have to live in the real world? Oh hang on, that's what they are doing anyway.
[Awaits venomous criticism from fellow Evertonians and who think that everything that comes out of an Everton player is the word of God.]
14 Posted 08/10/2016 at 19:37:09
You know that you have a very jaundiced view of all things Everton so it helps to keep the balance when others might take the opposite view.
Young men, particularly rich young men, do need guidance and help; there are a lot of sharks out there who don't give a toss about the player's development or welfare as long as they tag along taking his money. Gascoigne could have done with some better friends and guidance in his early years...
Seamus has been fortunate because he has kept his head down and worked hard with whatever ability he has been blessed with and it must be hard for him to see younger footballers with better skill sets, seemingly focusing on the wrong things, forgetting it is their hard work which will keep them in luxury and not the luxuries themselves.
15 Posted 08/10/2016 at 19:45:12
16 Posted 08/10/2016 at 19:45:30
It's sad enough though that the likes of Coleman seem to be the exception.
17 Posted 08/10/2016 at 20:06:10
Whatever the reason, it was a really refreshing interview by an honest individual, who no matter what he earns each week, will never lose sight of the fact that he occupies a very privileged position in life compared to the rest of us.
Paul (#13), you're entitled to your opinion, as all of us are, but you seem very bitter in your outlook, despite Seamus telling a few home truths that we all knew about anyway?
18 Posted 08/10/2016 at 20:24:22
19 Posted 08/10/2016 at 20:28:14
I'm glad Seamus plays for us as he seems so level-headed and down to earth. I read the full interview this morning and the way he spoke about EitC was brilliant. Yes, he hasn't hit the heights he did under Moyes but I'm sure he'll come good again under Koeman.
You just get the impression he's thinking he's dead lucky to have got as far as he has got. Great servant and a great lad.
20 Posted 08/10/2016 at 21:24:07
21 Posted 08/10/2016 at 21:33:32
22 Posted 09/10/2016 at 00:47:49
There is a link in the Daily Mail article to an excellent piece by Jamie Carragher on the growing culture in football of managers afraid to criticise players. Seamus accepts criticism as all good professionals should do.
Paul (#13), I think the point that Seamus was making is that young footballers with more money than sense are succumbing to peer pressure in buying their Louis Vuitton bags, to keep up with the Jones's, rather than concentrating on being good professionals.
23 Posted 09/10/2016 at 01:33:17
It's how you edit, Paul the above is the follow-on from the bit you cut; Seamus was leading in to how he thinks it's wrong and that young players aren't focused on what is important.
Class, Seamus. Honesty and humility. Not always your biggest fan but, if there is one characteristic you are starting to demonstrate, it is maturity and leadership. Future, if not soon to be, Everton Captain.
25 Posted 09/10/2016 at 03:50:46
26 Posted 09/10/2016 at 03:56:41
Obviously he's been an absolute steal but does seem to have hit his plateau in the last year or two and we're maybe seeing why other club's didn't think he was worth taking the chance. He's a bit limited on the ball and doesn't really have a cross or final ball in his armory.
I know that seems a bit harsh because he's clearly Premier League standard and cost us next to nothing, but he's stopped improving and we might be able to do better if we're looking at the higher reaches of the league.
27 Posted 09/10/2016 at 04:40:40
I like to think that Everton Football Club, and of course Fans(!) had something to do with his fantastic career. Still scoring goals for fun, and I can't believe the adoring Chinese want an autograph and selfies. Genuinely grounded.
28 Posted 09/10/2016 at 06:21:07
Even Scotland trounced them 5-1 last month but England's bunch of overpaid, overhyped so -called superstars looked if they just turned up for the photo opportunities. Even when Malta's League 2 standard defence visibly tired in the second half England's pretty boy prima donnas couldn't add a third goal.
Three Lions? More like three kittens and in many ways a perfect example of what Seamus is saying. No fire, no real pride and work rate and why should we expect it from these millionaires who probably feel they're doing England a favour by turning out for the national team?
Almost makes me wish I was Irish or Argentinian. At least they all look like it means something to them to be out there representing their countries.
29 Posted 09/10/2016 at 08:19:29
And to jump on the Kossoff bandwagon, really mate? What planet you living on? I've never condone anyone being abused on here but, should it happen, you deserve all you get.
Stupidest fucking reply I've seen to an article in a long time.
30 Posted 09/10/2016 at 08:47:43
Here's another version: Seamus tripped forward, unknowingly kicking the ball backwards with his studs, on trying to regain momentum he indiscriminately touched said ball on the inside of his foot, knocking it around the back of the Arsenal player, unbeknowingly a gush of wind forced Seamus in the right path to meet ball even though he was tripping over his own laces as he's a useless fuck who only uses Velcro, he then ran on down the wing to numerous applause from the Lower Bullens safe in the fact he had bullshitted 4,000 supporters with his tomfoolery. [From the memoirs of Paul Kossoff.]
31 Posted 09/10/2016 at 09:40:50
32 Posted 09/10/2016 at 10:13:30
Apart from physical fitness and stamina, Ronald's biggest task is releasing the team from mental paralysis and letting them play with some flair and lack of inhibition.
33 Posted 09/10/2016 at 10:18:36
34 Posted 09/10/2016 at 10:35:09
Nice one, Seamus.
35 Posted 09/10/2016 at 11:30:21
37 Posted 09/10/2016 at 12:55:01
What if we were to lose him and Lukaku? Gana and Williams would be left carrying the team.
No point relying on the 'Musketeers' for their swash-buckling 20-minute efforts.
38 Posted 09/10/2016 at 12:55:13
39 Posted 09/10/2016 at 14:59:22
I talked about a number of things excluding football strangely enough. Coleman, seemed a proud family man and a really nice down-to-earth bloke.
We forget they're doing a job and getting a wage, like the rest of us who are employed. I couldn't give a shit how much money they're on. Good luck to them.
We all do the Lotto don't we? Doesn't that mean we all want to have and live their lavish lifestyle?
I think the key word is criticism, if you can take it, you will improve; if you can't, you won't. Simple as that.
Yes, I think Coleman would make a good Captain. But let's not rush too far ahead. Let's get his game back to the standard he should be producing. Then talk about armbands.
40 Posted 09/10/2016 at 15:26:33
Nice observation, Tony. Just about sums the situation if you ask me.
42 Posted 09/10/2016 at 16:32:10
Top bloke. I hope we can keep him as we need his type in our team.
43 Posted 09/10/2016 at 16:44:47
He's what I would class a proper Everton player. Wears his heart on his sleeve, battles but has skill.
One of my favourite players of the modern Premier League era.
Captain material? Definitely! Now? Maybe next season as he'll then be 28 and classed as a senior member of the squad.
44 Posted 09/10/2016 at 19:56:45
45 Posted 09/10/2016 at 20:11:28
He has the speed, he can dribble. He would only have to work on crosses... Why not!
46 Posted 09/10/2016 at 20:12:14
47 Posted 09/10/2016 at 20:12:26
48 Posted 09/10/2016 at 20:33:35
50 Posted 09/10/2016 at 21:37:07
51 Posted 10/10/2016 at 06:49:29
I would like to add to your list the goal he just scored recently, can't remember against which team though.
The commentator: "it's a centre-forward goal..." It certainly was!
52 Posted 10/10/2016 at 14:25:27
Séamus, if you now take Wessie Hoolahan with you to Goodison and tell "Special 1" oer the road to take a long walk off a short plank, I'd be a very happy man.
53 Posted 10/10/2016 at 15:58:04
My 12-year-old son needs the 'right' trainers and smartphone when he goes out with his mates or to school. We all look at the nicer cars parked outside our workplaces and think should we go for that flashy motor instead of the family car.
Let's not lose the point of what Seamus is aiming at, which is that it is easy to get distracted from the point of a footballers job, which is to train hard and play for the team and the fans. Up until the late '90s, young players lodged with families, cleaned the stadium, cleaned first teamers' boots, and generally got paid very little. That grounded them.
Sadly, Sky money and agents now mean that era has gone and 15-year-olds are being told they need a new contract and they are set for life by the time they are 20. I bet to any person on here, if we had money and adulation thrown at us when we were 20, none of us would be the people we are now. We would all have issues of some kind that come from too much too soon.
54 Posted 10/10/2016 at 16:10:09
I think many who make it into the academy, feel like they've made it, and the rest will come to them easily. With only a very small fraction actually making it through to the very top, you would think that the other graduates would go on to make it at other clubs. Unfortunately it's shocking to see that so many quit the game after being released from Premier League academies at 19 or 20 years old. You would think that these players would get snapped up by lower-league clubs, but many don't have the will to even bother to try to find a club. They were sold on the glamour of the Premier League but don't possess the hard work element to try to make it somewhere else.
I definitely see the point he makes about the Louis Vuitton merchandise as many of these kids coming through are focused on the financial rewards of the game and not the love of it. The old format of the YTS apprenticeships did instill discipline to the young players and having to live in digs with local families helped them stay grounded. Now we have 16- and 17-year-olds earning £2-3k a week, in a world when the average UK annual salary is around £27k. No wonder most of them live in la-la land and have no connection to real life.