Coleman: We Must Show Our Desire To Win Derby

Seamus Coleman has called on Everton to “step up to the plate” and channel their intensity and hunger into a winning performance in Saturday’s Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

The influential full-back has challenged the Blues to get on the front foot early on and help get the Grand Old Lady rocking for the 231st meeting between the two sides.

Coleman – who racked up his 253rd appearance for the Blues against Manchester City at the weekend – is relishing his first derby after a lengthy period on the sidelines.

The popular defender returned to the first team in January having been out of action for 10 months after suffering a double-leg break while on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.

Coleman says it is vital the Blues hit the ground running on Saturday and lift the Goodison Park crowd.

“We need to show we want to win these games,” he said. “You definitely sense it [the derby] is a different game. Some people might be nervous, some people might enjoy it, but after 10 months out I can’t wait for the game.

“Going into every game I firmly believe we can win and it’s the same on Saturday. We need to step up to the plate for our fans and hopefully we can get the crowd behind us early on.”

Coleman has impressed since returning to the Everton starting XI against Leicester City on 31 January.

The 29-year-old produced a barnstorming display against the Foxes, playing the full 95 minutes as the Blues secured a 2-1 victory. He suffered a minor setback in the Toffees’ next home game – a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace – but has been an ever-present since returning to the side against Burnley on 3 March.

Coleman – who signed for Everton for £60,000 from Sligo Rovers in 2009 – says he is savouring every moment of being back in action for the Blues.

“It’s unbelievable to be back in the thick of it, to be back training every day and looking forward to games at the weekend,” he said.

“If you ask any player, the worst part of being a footballer is being in that treatment room and watching the lads go out every day.

“But I had my head switched on quickly. I knew I had to eat properly and get in the gym and have longer days than usual.
“It was something in a weird way I enjoyed. I enjoyed the grind of it and seeing daily improvements. I put in the work and got the rewards because I am back and I feel no effects from the injury, so it’s great.”

That Coleman has returned to the side in such impressive fashion is testament to his professionalism. The right-back received a rousing reception from the Goodison crowd on his return against Leicester – which he admits was an emotional occasion.

The fiercely determined Irishman, however, says his overwhelming focus was on proving he was still the same Everton player.
“It was a day I had been looking forward to since that night I broke my leg,” added Coleman. “I suppose it was strange getting back to Goodison and doing the routines I had done 10 months previously – getting the boots on and doing the warm-up.
“The fans were great to me and gave me a great reception. I had to block it out though because I knew I had a job to do.

“One of the things I wanted to show when I came back was I every bit as strong, every bit as fast, and the numbers with the sports science team have shown I have come back every bit as strong and as fast.
“It was great to come back and show people the injury hadn’t bothered me. I missed 10 months of my career but physically I feel fine again and look forward to kicking on.”

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