Thursday 24 January 2019

'It was his job to get on the ball and make things happen and at times he didn't do that' - Coleman bites back at Andrews

Seamus Coleman has hit back at Keith Andrews
Seamus Coleman has hit back at Keith Andrews
Seamus Coleman fouls Wilfried Zaha to concede a penalty during his comeback for Everton at Goodison Park. Photo: Reuters

Daniel McDonnell and Simon Hughes

Seamus Coleman made a winning comeback from injury with a bit of help from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at Goodison Park.

But the Ireland captain is unhappy with his former team-mate Keith Andrews for some of the criticism he aimed at Martin O'Neill's side during a difficult October double header.

The absence of Coleman due to a stress fracture complicated things for O'Neill's side, with the 30-year-old failing in his attempt to return for national service.

He was back on the pitch yesterday and gave away a penalty that was saved by Pickford - he stopped Luka Milivojevic's second-half spot-kick after Coleman was adjudged to have fouled Wilfried Zaha.

Seamus Coleman looks on. Photo: Getty
Seamus Coleman looks on. Photo: Getty

The game was scoreless at the time, and the Toffees went on to take the points courtesy of late goals from subs Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun.

Coleman had Irish matters on the mind when he spoke to Newstalk afterwards.

Andrews had described Ireland's year as the 'worst in living memory' and that offended the skipper.

"We're going through a tough time," said the 30-year-old.

"Keith has been part of teams himself that could have been questioned at times. It's very easy from a pundit's position

"I've to bite my tongue at times. Keith has got a job to do. He has really taken to punditry and might have been trying to make a name for himself by being a little bit harsh the other night.

Jordan Pickford celebrates with Everton manager Marco Silva. Photo: Getty
Jordan Pickford celebrates with Everton manager Marco Silva. Photo: Getty

"That's his job. When he was a player it was his job to get on the ball and make things happen and at times he didn't do that. It's difficult.

"As players, we're all together. We want to be as passionate as we can for our country.

"Sometimes it's hard to take that criticism, Keith would say the same when he was a player - he got plenty of criticism and would have agreed it was hard to take.

"We need to give the fans something to be proud of and 100pc at the minute, our performances have not been good enough but come March we're hoping to give the country some big nights. This group of players has done that at times."

Coleman added that the players have to take responsibility for substandard displays - and he gave strong backing to manager O'Neill.

He does believe that players have got away lightly in comparison to the manager.

"We are all behind the manager. I said it here at club level, sometimes players get away with murder. It always seems to be put on the manager, that's something that really bugs me at club level," he said.

"I've seen three or four managers go. It always seems to be them that gets the heat and not the players. We need to stand up. Some of our performances have not been good enough.

"I do think we are going through a transition period, we are playing lads from the Championship and they are all coming into the team and trying to understand what international football is about.

"We have to use these Nations League games to get us ready for March, which is important.

"It's very easy to forget that I've been injured for a year," he continued. "Matt Doherty has come in and done great.

"James McCarthy has been out for a year. Robbie Brady. That's two decent players for our country and a lot of teams would struggle to do that.

"I understand pundits have a job to do, they're not happy with the way we play or the way we perform but we can't take our eye off the ball. We've got a job to do now."

So do Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace.


They have scored five goals all season and their next four games are against Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United. They are 15th now. Will they start December in the relegation zone?

Hodgson tried to be calm in the aftermath. "The penalty miss lifted the crowd and gave them fresh impetus going forward," he said.

"They were able to risk a bit more. I still think it was harsh we conceded a goal. I am not sure people would have begrudged us a result. We have to dust ourselves down. There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves."

Hodgson admitted, however, that Palace's lack of goals had the potential to impact on confidence.

"Of course it does," he said. "I thought for the best part of the game we defended well enough to stifle their efforts and we looked dangerous going forward. If we continue to do that, I am sure the goals will come."

Everton's third Premier League victory in succession was also a consequence of Marco Silva's decisions. He was brave with his substitutions and Ademola Lookman - the other sub - also made a strong impression.

For Silva, this sort of home win will build trust because it was secured so late and his judgment was key to the outcome.

Irish Independent

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