Tuesday 16 January 2018

Exclusive - Ronald Koeman on why Seamus Coleman is Ireland's perfect captain

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

It's safe to assume Ronald Koeman and Roy Keane hold very different views on the art of leadership, but both seem to find common ground in Seamus Coleman’s version of captaincy

The poisonous/comical attack on Koeman served up by Keane over the fitness record of James McCarthy appeared more than a little trivial as Donald Trump stormed into the White House.

It may be that Keane appreciates the brash rudeness served up by America’s new Commander-In-Chief, as he has been following an equally distasteful line of public rhetoric for two decades now.

Yet Koeman is cut from very different and more refined cloth and he confirmed as much when I sat down with him for an exclusive interview.

A legendary sportsman who arguably enjoyed an even greater career than that of Keane, Koeman did it all with a placid calmness that remains in place to this day.

So when we ask him to evaluate Coleman’s promotion to the role of Ireland captain in recent months, he suggested the quiet leader is more effective than the outspoken firebrand.

“Seamus can be a leader and in many ways, his personality is just what you need in a captain,” began Koeman, speaking at an event to promote the Kick It With Help anti-smoking campaign. 

“To be quiet off the pitch and loud on, with your leadership, it’s the perfect combination. You don’t want a leader who makes too much noise as this is not always good for the team.


“Maybe I was like this in my career and now we see something similar with Seamus.

“I know how amazing I felt to be captain of my national team and Seamus should be very proud that he has been given he honour to lead Ireland.

“First of all, Seamus is a great player and what I like most about him is that he is always willing to learn. Some players do not want to listen so much, but Seamus is not like this.

“He could become the best full-back in the Premier League, but there is a lot of competition for that title.

“Full-back is such an important position in the game now because often, the most space in a Premier League game is in the wide positions and Seamus can give us so much when he goes forward.”

Read more form our exclusive interview with Everton boss Koeman on Monday.


Ronald Koeman is backing the Kick It With Help campaign to highlight the importance of expert assistance in quitting smoking. Check out the website at: www.quitwithhelp.ie.

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