Coleman: 'Outstanding' Duo Have Taught Me Plenty

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Seamus Coleman says looking up to Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines for much of the past decade has helped him get to where he has in the game. 

Jagielka and Baines, who celebrated their 10 years with Everton at a special event in Goodison Park’s Alex Young suite on Tuesday night, were already established members of the Blues’ squad when a 19-year-old Coleman arrived on Merseyside in a £60,000 switch from Sligo Rovers in January 2009. 

Since then, the right-back, who is currently recovering from a broken leg, has racked up 247 appearances for the Toffees and taken over the captain’s armband for the Republic of Ireland.  

And, paying tribute to their achievement, Coleman admitted he has learned plenty in his career - both as a player and a person - from studying Jagielka and Baines at such close quarters.  

“Early on, there were quite a few full-backs at Everton,” Coleman, now 28, told evertontv. “Phil [Neville] was here, Tony Hibbert as well - someone I really looked up to and really wanted to learn from - and Bainesy on the other side. 

“He got in the PFA team of the season twice and has now got the most assists in the Premier League for a defender, so he was someone I probably tried to watch and learn from the most.  

"We both played in similar positions and that relationship he had with Steven Pienaar was probably the best left-hand side in the league. And when I say probably, I’m sure of it.

“He probably had that little bit more composure and quality than me in the final third and that was something I wanted to work on and learn from. 

“And he was always there to bounce stuff off and, equally, with Jags, he was always there and he gave me the licence to do what I did going forward, because any ball played in behind, Jags was there to take the ball. 

“He let me go forward as much as I possibly could, knowing I had someone as fast and powerful as Jags to clean up behind me.” 

When Neville departed Everton in 2013, Jagielka took up the mantle of captain and Coleman, who was named permanent skipper of his country last September, says he has been inspired by the way his Toffees teammate leads by example. 

“He’s a good captain," he said. "I think there’s all different types of captains and Jags is there when you need to bounce stuff off him but he’s also one of those players where I remember we were going through a sticky spell a couple years ago and we played QPR away and he was immense in the game. So, for me, he leads by performances. 

“There’s been games where we’ve been getting battered and he’s heading balls, putting in last-ditch tackles, putting his body on the line and getting man of the match constantly, so I think he’s a captain that leads by the way he plays on a Saturday, and I often say that to him.

“Being a captain, some people think it’s all about shouting, balling and giving it out to people, which most captains are capable of, as is Jags. 

“But the thing I’ve learnt from him most is, when you’ve got the armband on, lead by your performances and do your talking on the pitch as best you can.”

Coleman, who is less than less 15 months away from reaching a decade at Goodison himself, added: “This [reaching 10 years] will mean a lot to them both. For Bainesy being a local lad, it’ll mean a lot and, with Jags, since he’s signed he’s understood the Club, he’s got the Club and become an Evertonian. 

“It’s a top Premier League club to do that at and, in this day and age, it’s very rare. 

“You always have to be on your game or someone is going to replace you, so I hope people realise over the 10 years they’ve been here they’ve been outstanding players for the Club and outstanding players for the league, too.”

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