SEAMUS Coleman has the Champions League in his sights with Everton.
Although the Killybegs man has been linked to both Arsenal and Manchester United this season, Everton moved to within striking distance of fourth-placed Arsenal on Tuesday night.
Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and Leon Osman netted in a solid three-nil win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park that keeps their Champions League flame burning brightly as the season enters its last eight games.
Everton are six points adrift of Arsenal, but the Toffees have a game in hand and face the Gunners at Goodison Park on Sunday-week. This weekend out-of-sorts Arsenal – who drew 2-2 at home to Swansea on Tuesday – face in-form Manchester City at the Emirates on Saturday, while Everton are away to Fulham on Sunday.
It is quite conceivable that Roberto Martinez’s Everton could have the chance to go level with Arsenal – occupiers of that elusive fourth Champions League spot – when their swords cross next weekend.
Coleman seems set to pen a new, improved deal at Everton this summer. A scintillating season has seen the 25-year old Ireland international net seven goals, the highest for any Premier League defender, while the people at Opta Stats confirm that Coleman has the best dribble record.
Coleman has 1.8 successful dribbles per game, marginally better than Liverpool’s Glen Johnson, who has 1.7.
Martinez is keen to hold onto Coleman, particularly as the club have the Champions League on their radar.
“Seamus has been having a very good season and we want that to continue,” the Everton boss said recently.
“It is important in the last few games that he carrys on with the levels he has shown. He is becoming a very important player at Everton and we want Seamus to stay here for a long time.”
Martinez has challenge Coleman and company to get Everton into that lucrative bracket that seals qualification to the riches of the Champions League.
He said: “We’ve been working really hard for the last 10 months and you can see the team is ready to give everything in every game and make every single Evertonian proud.
“Now we need to refresh and regenerate for Fulham. It’ll be a completely different game but we’ll have to bring the same momentum and intensity that we showed (at Newcastle).”
The book looks at the experiences and achievement levels of Irish-born football migrants to Britain and further afield.
Last season Jack Keane joined the first team squad, making six appearances, as well as representing Ireland on four...