FOOTBALL supporters across the country were heartened last month to see images of Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman back running, just four months after he underwent surgery on a fractured right tibia and fibula he suffered in a World Cup qualifier.
While the defender is unlikely to play at Goodison Park for a while yet the pictures of him running at USM Finch Farm, Everton’s training ground, brought a smile to the faces of Evertonians.
However, it was a first step of a different kind which is the most important image engrained in Coleman’s mind from 2017– that taken by his daughter Lily.
“I was waiting and waiting and waiting on Lily to take start walking as I just wanted to take her to the park. I broke my leg and she walked into the hospital in Dublin to see me. That’s as true as God. There I was sitting on there hospital bed and she jumps up on top of me. I was just thinking ‘this is typical’!
“Now she’s started walking she doesn’t know when to stop. She’s keeping me busy, very busy,” he laughed.
With Rachel expecting the couple’s second child on January 10 next, these are busy times around the Coleman household.
“Very exciting times,” he admits.
While the horrific leg injury has keep Coleman out of football for the past six months it did afford him the rare opportunity to lead a ‘normal’ life.
“The first month (after the injury) I stayed at home as there was not a lot I could do. I got to go out and see friends and go to things that I don’t normally get to and to watch the football with the lads. I’ve also got home for stuff likes weddings too which was a bonus but now it’s flat out over there – six days a week, long hours. Just like a normal job,” he said.
Seamus is back on his feet and working on his fitness – doing all that he possibly can to make sure he’s as fit and as strong as he can be on his return.
He’s reluctant though to put any time-frame on that return.
“To be fair it’s going well but the physios are reluctant and they don’t really like putting times on things from one day to the next. You never know how it can go, but so far everything has been going upward and there’s been no setbacks. Fingers crossed it keeps going that way and as long as can keep doing a little bit more than you did the previous day, you are going in the right direction. So far that’s been the case,” he said.
Coleman also believes that he was quite lucky with the timing of the injury.
“It happened in March, Everton were seventh at the time and they finished seventh. I had all summer then to get right and the season has just started again and I have six months done. Bar obviously the massive Irish games in the summer, I feel like I haven’t missed a lot. If it happened in August you are missing close to a full season of football, so in terms of timing it was probably as good as it could be,” he said.
What about Ireland and their chances of making the World Cup finals in Russia next summer?
“If we can’t beat Moldova at home we don’t deserve to be going to the World Cup. We should be beating them and then the Wales game is massive.
“I know them lads will give every last bit of energy to get us to the World Cup. That’s what they are about. Performances might be good or bad but there’s no doubt about it, those lads when they play will always give 100 per cent – sometimes it mightn’t click but there isn’t one lad in that squad who doesn’t give it his all. That’s why I’m still confident. You don’t get that everywhere,” he said.
See tomorrow’s Donegal News for full report and photos from Friday’s fund-raising function