Theo Walcott has described Seamus Coleman as “a dream to play alongside” and believes the full-back’s hunger and professionalism embodies what it means to be an Everton player.
The January signing also hailed Coleman’s impressive comeback after a long-term injury – adding that the Irishman “looks like he has never been away”.
After suffering a double-broken leg while on international duty in March 2017, the Republic of Ireland skipper returned to first-team action against Leicester City on 31 January.
The 29-year-old’s dynamic display belied the fact he had been sidelined for such a long period, as he linked-up brilliantly with Walcott, who hit both the Blues’ goals in a 2-1 win under the lights at Goodison Park.
The pair have now started the Blues' past seven matches together and the former Arsenal winger says he is relishing playing alongside the Irishman.
“He’s an absolute dream to play alongside,” he says. “At times, he says to me as a winger, ‘I don’t mind being one-on-one’.
“It just shows the confidence he has got in himself defensively. Going forward, as well, the way you can link off him is great. He is fantastic.
“When you think of Everton Football Club, you think of Seamus.”
Walcott hit the Blues’ winner against Newcastle United on Monday night – lashing home just after half-time from Yannick Bolasie’s cross – but the former Arsenal winger believes Coleman skipper produced an equally critical piece of play with the game in its dying embers.
Everton had kept an in-form Newcastle side at arm’s length for the vast majority of the 90 minutes, but their impressive work could have been undone if not for Coleman’s brave stoppage-time clearance.
Jacob Murphy’s dangerous, whipped cross looked destined for Magpies striker Dwight Gayle before the Republic of Ireland captain brilliantly intervened and headed to safety – taking a boot to the face for his efforts.
Walcott believes Coleman’s courageous clearance sums up his importance to the side.
“Seamus’s header at the end was fantastic – it’s a match-winning moment, that,” Walcott said.
“He has played at the highest level for so long and obviously he’s had that horrific injury, to come back the way he has…mentally it’s not an easy thing. But you wouldn’t have even thought he had the injury. He is a fantastic professional and a great character in the dressing room."
The victory over Newcastle moved Everton up to eighth in the Premier League and Walcott says the Blues are determined to maintain this momentum in their final three games of the season.
The Toffees travel to Huddersfield Town on Saturday, before taking on Southampton in their final home game of the campaign on 5 May. They then round off the season at the London Stadium against West Ham United on 13 May.
“We’ve got an away game at Huddersfield just around the corner, which will be a good battle.
“I always feel like it’s vital to finish the season high. It’s really crucial to push on, I feel. We want to win all our games and produce good performances.”