Thursday 20 September 2018

Seamus Coleman delivers classy comments on Neil Taylor as he insists he holds no grudge

Coleman is not wasting time thinking about Welsh player who broke his leg

Seamus Coleman battles to get the better of James McClean. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Seamus Coleman battles to get the better of James McClean. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell and John Fallon

Seamus Coleman says he does not hold a grudge against Neil Taylor, the Welsh player responsible for the leg break that ended his World Cup ambitions.

The Ireland captain makes his international comeback against Turkey this evening, a day before the anniversary of the painful night at the Aviva Stadium that condemned him to 10 months on the sidelines.

Martin O'Neill feels that Ireland might have qualified for the World Cup if Coleman had stayed fit.

Taylor, who received a two-match ban for the challenge, did send a message after the incident, but Coleman indicated that there was no further contact.

Grudge

"I haven't even thought of Neil Taylor five times since the injury," said Coleman last night. "He played a part in the tackle and it wasn't a great tackle.

"I was going for the ball, he was a bit high but these things happen in a tough international fixture. If I hold any grudge against him it's not going to help me in my rehab. He has to get on with his journey and I have to get on with mine. If I hold any anger towards him it won't help me. Let him carry on with what he has to do, and I'll crack on myself.

"He sent a message and that was fine with me, no problem. It's a year ago now and I've got things to look forward to. The tackle will always be brought up but I have to crack on."

Coleman could face Taylor again when Ireland play a pair of Nations League games against Wales later this year.

Coleman views the Turkey game as an important step towards meaningful matches and shrugged off O'Neill's revelation that Reading's Liam Kelly had turned down a call by asserting that he only wanted committed players on board - although sources close to Kelly have since claimed he is still open to Irish involvement.

"Whatever advice he was given, he thought it best to decline," said Coleman. "He's a young player and can make up his own mind. "The only thing I can say as a passionate Irishman is that we want players who want to play for the country and give their all."

Meanwhile, Ireland under-21 manager Noel King insists the ongoing disputes over northern-born players joining the FAI ranks should be kept out of the political sphere.

King was reacting to news that five Democratic Unionist Party MPs have backed a parliamentary motion which states the FAI must send out a clear message that "boundary lines will be respected and honoured".

It was tabled in the House of Commons by Jim Shannon (Strangford) and follows a row which emerged earlier this month after Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill claimed the FAI "only ever" targets Catholics to play for the Republic.

"I'm not a politician and I don't think sport belongs in the political arena," said King after two Belfast natives, Rory and Ronan Hale, scored in his side's 3-1 win over Iceland last night.

"I'm a football manager, coach, selector if you want to use the GAA term.

"The boys who played are delighted to be representing Ireland, it's their choice. how many times to I have to say this?

"That's beautiful tonight, two boys from Belfast who want to play for us, are dying to play for us, have played and scored. It's what football is," added King.

"I am playing with the rules of FIFA. If somebody feels they have the right to take the players' right to choose, there is a big question mark over that.

"It's the player's choice, the family's choice and the most important thing is he is good enough to be picked, whether for Northern Ireland or the south."

Irish Independent

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