Tuesday 16 January 2018

Coleman hungry to ease pressure on under-fire boss Givens

stephen finn

Sitting bottom of their UEFA European Championships group with no wins in six games, the Republic of Ireland U-21 side may be the most contentious team performing under the FAI banner.

Manager Don Givens suffered a torrent of criticism after a depleted team was heavily beaten 4-1 by Armenia in November and numerous articles were written questioning the approach to this international grade.

While the Irish will get the chance to right the wrongs committed in Yerevan four months ago, Everton defender Seamus Coleman took no time in jumping to the defence of the maligned Givens.

In fact, Coleman is so content with life in the Republic set-up that he strongly recommended it to his club-mate Shane Duffy, who recently made a controversial switch across the border from Northern Ireland.

"Yeah, I had a few words in his ear alright, but nothing serious. I'm sure he had his mind made up with his father and that," said Killybegs native Coleman.

"I told Shane what the Republic set-up is all about and that I think it is a great set-up. But I'm sure it wasn't just me that made up his mind."

Coleman missed the Yerevan massacre through injury and is keen to ease the pressure on Givens by helping the Irish to gain revenge against the Armenians in Tallaght tonight (7.30).

"I was shocked when I heard the result. I couldn't believe it, to be honest. The lads must have just had a bad day, but it is disappointing to lose by that margin," he said.

"Most of the games we should have won easily but we couldn't put the ball in the back of the net. So that is obviously not Don's fault; he can't come on and score goals. But I am happy with the set-up and I know a lot of the lads are too."

Former Sligo Rovers full-back Coleman (21) remains focused on U-21 duty despite speculation linking him with a senior cap after impressing in seven appearances for the Toffees this season.

"Someday, hopefully, I can get called in and it would be a dream come true. But at the minute I'm just happy to play for the U-21s," he said. Tickets are available for tonight's game at €5 for adults and €2 for under 16s.

Irish Independent

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