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Seamus Coleman’s return to action this week wouldn’t have escaped the attention of most Evertonians. The Republic of Ireland international scored in Everton reserves’ 6-3 thumping of Newcastle United, playing 55 minutes and netted the opening goal of the match after only five minutes.
The full-back turned winger’s marauding runs have been missing from David Moyes’ team for the best part of six weeks, as the 23-year-old has been nursing a thigh injury.
Although Coleman has been forced to watch on from the sidelines in recent weeks, his teammates have begun to click into full gear this season. However, I think most would agree that the Goodison Park favourite has an important role to play to help the Blues finish on a high note.
Coleman’s versatility as a player, both in an attacking and defensive sense, has made him a key member of the Everton squad since he first burst onto the scene during the 2009/2010 campaign. His uncanny ability to chip in with vital goals and bring genuine pace to the Blue cause is why even greater things are expected from him in years to come.
His return has arrived just at the right time, especially given Landon Donovan’s return to LA Galaxy. There is no doubt that Donovan, who has once again shone in his second spell at the club, will be missed, but Coleman possesses similar tenacity and could slot back into the team as a right-sided midfielder if required. Everton and the club’s supporters alike have always enjoyed the luxury of a pacey winger, and it is something Coleman has in abundance.
Of course the likes of Royston Drenthe, Magaye Gueye, Jose Baxter and a fit again Leon Osman, among numerous others, can all provide welcome strength and competition to that area of the midfield, but Coleman’s direct and forward-thinking running style, which is similar to Donovan, makes him a natural wide player. Evertonians will remember Coleman’s Goodison bow against Tottenham Hotspur, where he set up both goals in a 2-2 draw, and he has delivered many similar performances since.
Having had the opportunity to get some competitive football under his belt this week, many would expect Coleman to give his manager a good selection headache in the coming weeks.
Whilst Everton’s positive form since the turn of the year has been underpinned by solid foundations, pace and creativity in wide areas could well be crucial to supplying the big physical presences of Denis Stracqualursi, Tim Cahill and new signing Nikica Jelavic.
The challenge for Coleman and his teammates is to enjoy a strong Premier League finish and FA Cup run, and with the continued backing of the supporters, there is no reason why Everton can’t turn this season into a memorable one.
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