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Shackles off for Seamus

JUST like the rampaging full-backs of olden times, Seamus Coleman showed that he can be a threat to opposing teams on top of his defensive duties as he set up Ireland's goal for Shane Long at Wembley on Wednesday night.

And the Everton man says that he finds it hard to restrain his attacking instincts – good news for Irish fans who have spent long periods of the Giovanni Trapattoni reign hoping that the shackles would be taken off bright prospects like Coleman, James McCarthy and Robbie Brady.

Wednesday was not Coleman's first time at Wembley – he played there for Blackpool in a successful play-off final during a loan spell at that club in 2010 – but the 24-year-old looked more than comfortable at the home of the English game. The England match was just one of several high points in an already-impressive Ireland career for the Donegal man.

In the past, Ireland fans watched as full-backs such as Dave Langan, Chris Hughton, Gary Kelly and Ian Harte made regular sorties into the opposing half, but under Trapattoni our full-backs have been more restrained.

Like Nicolas Cage's prison-bound character in Face/Off who had to wear magnetic boots, our full-backs appear afraid to cross the halfway line for fear of what would happen.

But Coleman, who set up Long's goal and also had a goal attempt of his own, was pleased to go on the offensive against England.

"I am trying to get to play in an attacking position. I went from Sligo as a right-back, I have always been a right-back and, in some ways, for me it's a matter of getting more experience," Coleman said.

"The manager tells me to pick my moments in terms of going forward, but it's part of my game to go forward as well as looking after the defensive duties. But you will find it hard to hold me back as it's part of my game to go forward.

"The manager is a man of great experience, he knows the game very well and, for me, he keeps on top of my defensive side but lets me go forward as much as I can, and hopefully we can do that Friday against the Faroes.

"On Wednesday night, for the goal, I just got the ball into the area, it was up to Shane to do the rest.

"It's nice to set up a goal at club level so to get an assist at international level is even better.

"For me, it's as good as me scoring a goal. I am in the team to set up goals and I was delighted with the assist," added Coleman.

"That's the way I play, I go out in every game like I am on trial.

"I give 100 per cent every week and do all I can to stay in the team.

"If I'm not playing well I won't stay in the team so it's something I have to keep on top of.

"Since the fixture was announced we wanted to go out against England and give a good account of ourselves and we did that, we played some good football at times.

"We have drawn away to two good teams now in the last while, Sweden and England, and that's a boost for confidence.

"But the main thing about Wednesday's game was to prepare for the Faroe Islands, that's the main focus of this international series."

 

Journey

This time last year, the Irish squad were gearing up for a trip to Poland for Euro 2012, a journey which Coleman missed out on as he wasn't deemed good enough to make the 23-man squad by Trapattoni.

That seems crazy now as Coleman has made the right-back slot his own. And he feels that the mood has improved, with confidence back in the Irish camp.

"The lads were disappointed with the Euros last summer, but we have had some good results now against the likes of Sweden and England to give us confidence," Coleman added.

"We're not looking any further than that.

"We have a game on Sunday against Georgia and I am sure there are lads who haven't been in the team who want to get a run-out and impress.

"The whole point of this trip is to get the win over the Faroes."


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