FOUR years after he was plucked from the League of Ireland for just £60,000, Seamus Coleman has put pen to paper on a contract that could potentially be worth in excess of £10m.
The modest Donegal man has been rewarded for his impressive form this season after finally getting a run in the position where he made his name.
After making his Premier League breakthrough on the wing – and earning a PFA Young Player of the Year nomination in his first full campaign – Coleman was given a protracted run in his favoured role at the beginning of this campaign and quickly erased the memory of his difficulties last season. When fit, he is preferred to Tony Hibbert and Phil Neville and with that duo in their 30s, Moyes has moved to tie down Coleman's long-term future.
Two years ago, Coleman agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal worth in the region of £25,000 per week.
His new terms tie him to the club until 2018 with a pay increase that should bring him into the £35,000-a-week bracket. With appearance money and a signing-on fee taken into the equation, the contract value could exceed £10m.
"Signing a contract here is fantastic and I'm really looking forward to the next couple of years.
"I'm going to keep working as hard as I have done since day one and keep improving every day in training to impress the manager. I'm really happy to have signed for the length of time that I have."
The words are incredibly similar to the player's comments of two years ago, but then he hasn't changed in that period. One of the endearing aspects of Coleman's elevation is his down-to- earth attitude, a contrast to so many in his profession.
His form this season also demonstrates a strength of character considering some of the disappointments he suffered earlier in the year.
Giovanni Trapattoni's side could have done with his exuberance and, encouragingly, the Italian appears to have belatedly recognised that fact.
Injuries opened the door for an outing at right full in the thrashing at the hands of Germany and while that was a difficult night overall, Coleman was one of the few positives. He carried that momentum into the win in the Faroes and stole the show in the friendly with Greece in November.
Significantly, his manager kept faith thereafter, recognising that the pros outweigh the cons in terms of deploying Coleman in that slot.
At a time when it is harder than ever for Irish youngsters to break into the Premier League, the late developer – who escaped the attention of all scouts until Sligo Rovers spotted him playing for Killybegs side St Catherine's – is set up to enjoy a lucrative career with both club and country.
July 2006: Joins Sligo Rovers after they were impressed by his performance in a friendly match with Killybegs side St Catherine's. At that point, Coleman was a promising minor GAA footballer.
October 2006: Makes his first-team debut for Sligo and establishes himself as a first-team regular the following season.
October 2007: Gains international recognition at U-21 level against Sweden.
January 2009: Outstanding form at Sligo results in a move to Everton for an initial £60,000 with add-ons to bring it closer to £150,000.
October 2009: A difficult debut for Everton in 5-0 Europa League drubbing at the hands of Benfica. But he follows it up with superb sub cameo in 2-2 Premier League draw with Spurs.
March 2010: Joins Blackpool on loan deal and inspires their charge from the Championship to the Premier League.
January 2011: After returning to Everton and breaking into the side at right wing, he signs a four-and-a-half year deal.
April 2011: Nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year as recognition for a campaign packed with top-class performances.
June 2012: After struggling in his second full season and failing to make a competitive Irish appearance, Coleman misses the final cut for Euro 2012.
October 2012: Selected for World Cup qualifier against Germany in his favourite position – right-back – after David Moyes finally entrusted him in that role.
December 2012: Signs a five-and-a-half year deal worth in the region of £35,000-aweek. His future is secure until June 2018.
Seamus Coleman's impressive form has been rewarded with a new five-year contract at Everton ?DANIEL McDONNELL ?