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04:34 Tue 13 Aug 2019

Coleman Playing Next To 'Two Class Centre-Halves'

Seamus Coleman says “class” centre-halves Michael Keane and Yerry Mina can provide the foundation for Everton to construct a successful 2019/20 campaign.

Mina was only periodically involved in his first Everton season following the Colombian's transfer from Barcelona but when fitness permitted showed the quality which made him a priority signing for Marco Silva in summer 2018.

The 24-year-old was in impregnable mood in Everton’s Premier League opening-day meeting with Crystal Palace, completing five clearances and three interceptions as Silva’s side recorded their ninth clean sheet in 12 top-flight games.

Mina's passing accuracy rate of 92.96 per cent was surpassed by only two players across the weekend's 10 Premier League fixtures.

England international Keane was similarly imperious, not giving Palace an inch – the former Burnley player won more aerial duels [13] than any defender on the season's first weekend – and giving every indication of carrying on in the same resolute manner which characterised his performances last term.

"Michael was different class all last season and throughout pre-season and has really grown into an Everton player,” Coleman told evertonfc.com.

“His first season was difficult for everyone and he had to battle through that, which he did excellently.

“You can see his confidence and how he is playing with his chest out.

“The way he has handled himself is all credit to him and his mentality.

“We are very lucky to have him.

“Yerry came in on Saturday and was one of our best players. He is very solid and slowly but surely understanding what the manager wants from him.

“We have two class centre-halves and competition everywhere else on the pitch – and we hope that adds up to a good season for us.”

Coleman delivered his customary combative and purposeful contribution at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Leading his side as permanent skipper for the first time, the right-back’s 106 touches was the most of anyone on the pitch. He blocked two shots, made four interceptions and – going the other way – was denied a goal only by the reactions of Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.

Coleman and fellow full-back Lucas Digne each supplied six crosses, twice as many as any other player.

The 30-year-old insists Everton’s slick and efficient rearguard owes its consistency to manager Silva’s training ground preparation.

He also stressed the value to his side of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, untroubled for long periods against Palace but alert to produce two first-rate stops in quick succession after half-time.

“The manager works very hard on defensive shape and the positions we should be in,” said Coleman.

“If we ever get caught out, we have a top-class ‘keeper to get us out of jail and Jordan did that twice at the weekend.

“We know what the manager wants and expects and keep working on it every week.

“It has been working for us.. consistency is so important.

“You get confidence from clean sheets.

“We work ever so hard defensively on the training ground, so it is no coincidence [we are keeping so many].”

Everton host Watford on Saturday, the Blues returning home 15 weeks after wrapping up their 2018/19 Goodison Park campaign with a 2-0 win over Burnley.

Coleman was on the scoresheet against the Clarets as Everton extended their unbeaten home run to a fifth match.

The Blues did not concede a goal in that period, scoring nine and winning four of those games.

“We finished very strongly at Goodison last season and we’re looking forward to being back there,” added Coleman.

“The atmosphere was electric in the final few months of the season.

“The [pre-match] siren on top of that helped the fans and players.

“We are looking forward to playing on the front foot at Goodison, scoring some goals and trying to get all three points.”

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