Seamus Coleman successfully came through just under an hour of football at Goodison Park last night as he played his first competitive match since breaking his leg last March.
Ireland’s captain was on from the start for the Everton U23s against Portsmouth U23s in the Premier League Cup and, after 58 minutes, he left the field of play to a warm applause from the smattering of fans present.
It was a largely uneventful return to the fray for the Donegal man but one of much personal significance as the 29-year-old eased his way back into action, though one full-blooded sliding tackle in the first half suggested he was not in the least inhibited about putting himself to the physical test.
With Sam Allardyce looking on, Everton went on to win the game 3-0.
It was exactly 311 days since Coleman had last played in Everton blue, and this was his first competitive outing since he suffered a dreadful double fracture of his leg in Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Wales in a World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium 10 months ago.
Meanwhile, Everton captain Phil Jagielka insists the Toffees must play to the strengths of new attacking signings Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott in order to help them settle quickly.
Jagielka has seen plenty of new arrivals in the January transfer window over his 10 years at the club, including the likes of Landon Donovan Mikel Arteta, and Nikica Jelavic, who all went on to impress at Goodison Park.
So the 35-year-old defender knows all about how best to help January additions hit the ground running.
Jageilka says the capture of Turkey international striker Tosun from Besiktas, and England international Walcott — an arrival from Arsenal last week — is “exciting” for Everton.
And he has called on the rest of the squad to help get the best out of the duo.
“Bringing Cenk and Theo in obviously gives us a bit more going forward,” said Jageilka.
“It’s really exciting because previously we’ve brought in loan signings and they’ve come in and done really well. We’ve had to go abroad and to America for instance to bring in someone like Landon just to try to get some threat going forward.
“But to be able to go and pick from the market and sign top international players at the peak of their game is nice to see.”
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