Seamus Coleman says operating in Carlo Ancelotti’s expressive Everton team is unleashing the attacking instincts which cemented the Irishman's reputation as one of the Premier League’s pre-eminent full-backs.
Defender Coleman is set for his 251st top-flight start on Saturday at Crystal Palace, where he struck a late winner back in 2017 for one of his 20 goals in the division.
The 31-year-old also has 25 assists since his debut in the competition 11 years ago next month.
Everton captain Coleman has a new right-sided partner this term in the form of Colombian sensation James Rodriguez.
The duo have started together in Premier League victories over Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion, with two more summer arrivals, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, in a new-look midfield three alongside Andre Gomes.
“Playing with three in midfield means full-backs can get forward a bit more, so, hopefully, I can start adding to those [goals and assists] figures in the near future,” said Coleman.
“We have worked a lot on our shape since we came back for pre-season and have a way of playing which has worked well in our first four games [including two Carabao Cup ties].
“James is a top fella and top player.
“What is important when you sign for this club is the person, as well.
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GOALS AGAINST... CRYSTAL PALACE
“He is a top-class-person and wants to work hard for the team.
“Anyone who has watched the two games will see his quality.
“We want to make sure we keep this run going and he is a vital part of the team.
“But Allan and Doucoure have come in and been equally as good in what they are doing.
“The addition of the three new players has been great, even for the likes of Richarlison, Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina; there is a buzz among them at the minute.
“It is very exciting and we are looking forward to being competitive in every game.
"The atmosphere in the changing room is good and that is what happens when you win games.”
Coleman made his 250th Premier League start in last week’s 5-2 defeat of West Brom – a game he reckons illustrated the craft which exists in manager Ancelotti's team right now.
Everton overturned a one-goal deficit in the opening half.
And despite encountering a defensive blockade after 10-man West Brom hit back for 2-2, Everton repeatedly unlocked their opponents, most notably when Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored following an exquisite combination between James and Richarlison.
Coleman is expecting Everton to need all their smarts to return from Palace with three points.
Everton’s past two visits to Selhurst Park have finished 0-0 and manager Roy Hodgson’s team won at Manchester United last week for their second straight Premier League success.
For Coleman and Everton, though, the game in London is an opportunity to add to the positive noises around the Club, further enhanced by smooth passage to a Carabao Cup fourth-round tie with West Ham United following wins over Salford City and Fleetwood Town.
“It is good to be talked about with some positivity and we are excited and really looking forward to the season,” said Coleman.
“That is what happens when you bring in the quality we have and it is up to us to continue that momentum.
“It is always a tough game at Crystal Palace, they are a solid team and very dangerous on the counter-attack.
“A lot of credit needs to go to their manger. He is a very good man and a top manager.
“They have some very good players and we need to be fully at it.
“You need to earn the right to win. You have to compete first, then, hopefully, our quality will see us get three points.
“Sometimes in the past it was hard for us to break teams down.
“West Brom had a man sent off and a lot of men behind the ball.
"But when you have the quality of James clipping that ball over to Richarlison and Dominic scoring at the back post... it is great to know we have players who can break defences down.
“We still pride ourselves on clean sheets and were disappointed to concede the goals against West Brom.
“But if the defence has an off day these attackers can bail you out and that is definitely a positive.”
Coleman was far and away the longest-serving Everton player starting in the team’s opening two Premier League fixtures.
He joined in January 2009, seven-and-a-half years before Dominic Calvert-Lewin, second on the list.
Coleman has featured in 321 games and scored 26 goals across all competitions.
The first of his 250 top-flight starts came at Fulham in September 2010, 21 months after he swapped League of Ireland Sligo Rovers for Goodison Park.
“I would have been very proud if you’d told me I’d reach 250 league starts when I joined,” added Coleman.
“I’m not one who looks too far ahead.
“When I came over, I looked at it like a two-year trial.
“Then I wanted to get on the bench, then on the pitch.
“And when I got on the pitch, I wanted to play as many games as possible for this football club.
“Through hard work and determination these games have started to tot up.
“I am very proud.”