Seamus Coleman can’t wait to lend support to squad

Seamus Coleman has not set himself any targets for a possible return following the injury that looks likely to keep him out for the remainder of the Republic of Ireland’s qualifiers for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

The Everton full-back suffered a broken fibula and tibia in Ireland’s qualifier against Wales in March following a dangerous tackle that saw Welsh left-back Neil Taylor given a straight red card in the scoreless draw.

Coleman, who was given a civic reception to award the Freedom of the County in his native Donegal yesterday, will join up with the Irish squad for moral support ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Austria on June 11.

The 28-year-old watched the 3-1 friendly loss against Mexico from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey at home on TV and says he has long since come to terms with his injury and is now putting his full focus on returning to action — whenever that may be.

“I watched the game last night and I was quite alright with it,” he said. “I was supporting the lads. I got my head around the injuries and obviously it natural you miss the game but you change your mindset and realise you’re not as part of it as you would like.

“For the Austria game I’m meeting up with the lads a couple of days before and it’ll be great. I can’t wait to be around the hotel. It might be a bit strange being in and around the Aviva changing rooms knowing that I’m not going to be going out there but this is a small setback.”

Coleman was joined by his family for the civic reception at Lifford’s County House.

His award sees him follow in the footsteps of Ireland goalkeepers Shay Given and Packie Bonner, 1992 All-Ireland captain Anthony Molloy and Jim McGuinness and his 2012 All-Ireland winning panel.

The Killybegs native has never made any secret of the fact he is a homebird, often seen watching his former club St Catherine’s and Killybegs GAA side when the opportunity arises.

“My favourite car journey of the year is when we get to pack up and head to Holyhead after the last game of the season,” Coleman said. “This year it’s a bit different with the injury.

“From the outside looking in you think you have to set end dates, but when you’re in the rehab position you’ve got to be fit to do one thing the next day and the next day and the next day. You’ve got to reach small targets.

“At the minute, I’m going well and I’ve had no setbacks. I’m going in the right direction.

“Mentally I’ve no concerns and I know I’ll be back. I’ve no doubt I’ll be coming back the same player.”

Listen to a preview of the Champions League final with European football writer Paul Little of the Daily Star and backpagefootball.com, Spanish-based football writer Dermot Corrigan and Italian football journalist Emanuele Giulianelli. Presented by Peter McNamara and Larry Ryan of the Irish Examiner.


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