Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has told Seamus Coleman he has a bright future on the international stage.
The 24-year-old Everton full-back’s performance was one of the bright spots in last night’s 1-0 friendly defeat by Greece at the Aviva Stadium as Trapattoni gave some of his young players a chance.
Coleman lined up at right-back and combined repeatedly with winger Robbie Brady to cause the Greeks problems.
Trapattoni said: “Coleman was fantastic, he was the man of the match. We know him and we have told him he is important to us for the future.
“I have said many times, the midfield of our team is not only the four midfielders, we have two more, the right and left-backs.
“Seamus is fast, he can recover the ball, he has a good personality and at this moment, he has a very good future.”
The Republic, who also boasted the energy of Ciaran Clark, James McCarthy, James McClean and Robbie Brady, started brightly enough and might have taken the lead.
Having been denied what looked like a clear-cut first-minute penalty after Stephen Ward’s cross struck full-back Konstantinos Stafylidis’ arm, striker Simon Cox headed Coleman’s cross wide when he might have done better.
Brady and McCarthy both forced saves from keeper Orestis Karnezis either side of half-time, but by that point, their side were already trailing to what proved to be the winning goal.
That arrived after Georgios Samaras played Konstantinos Mitroglou’s pass into the path of Jose Holebas, and he turned smartly past John O’Shea before drilling the ball into the bottom corner.
But while Trapattoni was disappointed with the result, he was pleased with the players he brought into the team with Norwich midfielder Wes Hoolahan winning a second senior cap as a half-time substitute.
The Italian said: “He [Hoolahan] was very good. The confirmed the quality we know he has.
“He’s a good option maybe if we need to have one striker and at the moment, we have no other players in this position.
“Football is about results, but we had some good situations and three or four of the players showed their personality in this difficult game.
“It was very important to have a good performance after the disappointment against Germany. You can see a progression.”
Greece boss Fernando Santos was a happy man too after seeing his side claim a lead, and then defend it doggedly.
He said: “We expected a very competitive game between two good teams and in the first 10 minutes, the Irish team tried to surprise us and they managed to do that.
“But after that 10-minute period we managed to keep the ball more and take the initiative in the game. We had some chances to score and we did score a goal.
“But in the second half, it was a completely different game and we had a very good defensive organisation.”