Everton's Seamus Coleman relies on Killer instinct

23 April 2011 01:31
There are few more daunting tasks for a young footballer than running out into the unforgiving glare of Old Trafford to face Manchester United on a mission.

For Seamus Coleman, however, it will be child's play. The Everton midfielder will not bat an eyelid at the prospect of having 75,000 supporters watching his every move and that is thanks to the grounding he received playing for 'The Killers' against 'The All-Stars'.

Brought up in Killybegs, a fishing port in County Donegal, Coleman lived on an estate where the only thing that mattered to him and his friends were the games of football that took place against their peers from the neighbouring estate.

Ready for anything: Everton's Seamus Coleman has been a revelation this season with his fearless approach

At every available opportunity, they met on the field that separated their houses. No quarter was given in pursuit of the bragging rights.

'We would play every evening and every Saturday morning, whenever we would get the chance,' he said. 'One day it could be five against five, the next it could be 10 against 10.

Match for the best: Coleman hasn't looked out of place against some of the planet's finest players

'We were all mates and went to school together but we weren't when the games started. We'd kill each other. There were always fights but we always came out on top!

'We even used to have transfers. You would put 50p in the jar and that would be your fee to swap teams, but I never left The Killers.

'They were battles, believe me. Nobody liked to lose and there was nowhere to hide. I think that helped me. It was more competitive than our organised game on a Saturday. It was no holds barred and you had to be up for that.'

Grounding: The young Irishman earned his spurs in his homeland before moving to Goodison Park

Coleman recalls the story with the innocence and enthusiasm that has characterised his thrilling play for Everton, his form so consistent that he earned a nomination for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, his first cap for the Republic of Ireland and a new four-and-a-half year deal.

Bargains from the Emerald Isle Seamus Coleman - ?60,000, Sligo Rovers to Everton, 2009. 1 cap for Ireland.

Excelling in the top flight after his conversion into a right midfielder by David Moyes.

Roy Keane - ?47,000, Cobh Ramblers to Nottingham Forest, 1990. 67 caps.

Turned down by several clubs for being 'too small', Keane went on to win it all at United. 

Paul McGrath - ?30,000,  St Patrick's to Manchester United, 1982. 83 caps.

Fought knee injury to become a legend at United and Villa.

Ronnie Whelan - ?30,000, Home Farm to Liverpool, 1979. 53 caps.

Won four League titles and a European Cup at Anfield.

Kevin Doyle - ?78,000, Cork to Reading, 2005. 41 caps.

Earned a ?6.5million move to Wolves in 2009.

Shane Long - ?25,000, Cork to Reading, 2005. 17 caps.

Prolific scorer leading Reading's push for promotion.

He smiles, but there is a serious side, too, as clearly those skirmishes helped hone his competitive edge. Spending time in his company, it is easy to see why the 22-year-old has made such giant strides since his ?60,000 transfer to Goodison Park from Sligo Rovers in February 2009.

'It meant the world when we were playing then, and by nature I'm very competitive,' he said. 'That's just how I am. We're playing at Old Trafford this weekend but I just want to get on with it and get past my full-back. If I don't do it the first time, I'll keep trying until I do.'

That approach ensured he did not look out of place alongside eventual winner Jack Wilshere,  Gareth Bale, Joe Hart, Samir Nasri, Nani and Javier Hernandez when the Young Player nominees were announced.

'There is no higher accolade than to be voted for by your fellow professionals,' said Coleman. 'When I found out, I was just wailing like a baby. I called my younger brother, Francis, then my mum and dad. I read out the names of who had been nominated and they were delighted.

'It's been an amazing year. I was hoping to break into the team at the start of the season but I didn't expect to play so many games and I didn't expect it to be on the right side of midfield. To get that nomination was a massive surprise but something I'm very proud about.'

If Everton are to win today at Old Trafford for the first time since August 1992, they will need more than just Coleman operating at full throttle. But this boyhood United fan is not in the least bit daunted. David Moyes' side have taken 17 points out of 21 and are full of belief.

'We're going to go for it,' declared Coleman bullishly. 'It will be difficult as they want to get the title wrapped up. But we're the team in form and we won't have any fear. A lot of the lads are in form and as long as it stays like that, we'll have a great chance.'

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Source: Daily_Mail

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