Wednesday 16 August 2017

'It made me feel sick' - Ashley Williams on learning the extent of Seamus Coleman's horrifying injury

Damian Spellman

Ashley Williams has revealed he felt "sick" when he realised close friend Seamus Coleman had suffered an horrific leg fracture as the pair went head-to-head with World Cup qualification at stake.

The Wales skipper faced Coleman's Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Friday evening, and has admitted he did not know how seriously injured the full-back was in a challenge by Neil Taylor until after the final whistle.

Williams told Everton's official website, www.evertonfc.com: "I didn't really see the tackle. All I saw was the red card and my initial reaction was to go to the referee.

"At the time, I was in the swing of things. It took me a minute to realise, 'Actually, he hasn't got up,' and that it was Seamus who was down.

"At that point, I wasn't thinking about the game or us being down to 10 men. I started thinking, 'Is my mate okay?'. That was when I went over to him.

"Even at that point, I didn't know it was so serious. After the game, I went straight into their dressing room to speak to James McCarthy, and he told me Seamus had gone to hospital and had broken his leg.

"It was just a weird feeling from everyone around the dressing rooms. Even people who don't know Seamus like I do were gutted. Neil Taylor was completely gutted. He was sitting on the floor virtually in tears.

"He asked me to check if it would be okay to go to see Seamus in hospital. He got his number off me and sent him a text straight away.

"When I found out it was a broken leg, it made me feel sick inside because it's someone who I like so much and is one of my mates.

"He's going to have up and down days, but the way he is, I'm sure his determination will help with his rehab and hopefully we'll have him back sooner rather than later and stronger than ever."

Coleman was due to leave hospital in Dublin on Wednesday having undergone surgery to pin his broken tibia and fibula on Saturday morning.

He faces a long road back to recovery, but will have the full support of his team-mates on Merseyside.

Williams said: "I didn't really know anyone at Everton when I came to the club, but he was someone who made me feel welcome and helped me to settle in straight away.

"The feeling I get from everyone outside the club is that they know him as a genuine, decent stand-up guy who always gives his all. And as I know him, he's one of the good guys in football, just an honest pro."

Everton midfielder Yannick Bolasie, who is currently working his way back from a serious knee injury, has backed Coleman to make a full recovery.

He told Sky Sports News: "Everyone's just showing great support. The club have been supportive with me, especially the manager and staff, so I'm sure it's going to be the same outcome for him.

"He's a strong character so I can see him coming back better."

It proved to be a costly international break for the Toffees, with McCarthy having aggravated a hamstring problem during the warm-up before the Wales game, and defender Ramiro Funes Mori damaging a knee playing for Argentina.

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