Seamus is Looking Forward 200 Premier League matches in the Royal Blue of Everton
Seamus Coleman declared it will be a “great honour” to reach 200 Premier League matches in the Royal Blue of Everton – as he eyes hitting more landmarks this season.
The defender is set to make it a double century of top-flight games when the Toffees travel to Stoke on Wednesday night as the 28-year-old looks to extend impressive form for both him and the team.
Coleman has been part of a Blues defence to keep three clean sheets in the previous four league games, while his late winner at Crystal Palace on Saturday took his goalscoring tally to four for the campaign, three shy of his season’s best of seven in 2013/14.
That meant he now has 18 goals for Everton while playing at right-back, a Club record for a Blues full-back without the aid of penalties – five clear of Gary Stevena
And the impressive stats don’t end there.
So far this season, he has the best shots-to-goal conversion rate of his career (33.3 per cent) and minutes per goal (421), while Evertonians will be hoping he gets on the scoresheet again on Wednesday night as Coleman has never been on the losing side for the Blues in the 24 matches in all competitions he has scored – sharing the club record with Victor Anichebe
They are proud numbers for a player who cost the Club a bargain £60,000 from Sligo Rovers in 2009.
“I didn’t think I would have seen that many games,” admitted Coleman on the prospect of playing 200 Premier League matches for Everton. “I always believed in myself but it was a big step up coming over (from Ireland). I just took it one step at a time and all I wanted to do initially was get on the bench for the first team, then make an appearance and then after that I didn’t set any targets, it just kept rolling.
“Please God, if selected, it will be my 200th Premier League game which is a great honour considering I started late. It’s a big deal.
“It’s a target for me to get more goals than I did three seasons ago and if the team keeps doing well there’s a chance if I keep getting in the right positions.”
Ronald Koeman’s switch to three central defenders has coincided with the Blues’ fine form so far in 2017. And while playing as a wing-back has not meant major changes for Coleman’s game, he admits it has enabled him more chances to go forward.
“The three centre-halves has been good because you have three big defenders there to defend crosses and as a team we’ve clicked defensively,” he added. “We’re priding ourselves on the clean sheets.
“(As a wing-back) I still have to defend and do my job. It gives you that little bit more license to go forward. With this formation you’re probably expected to get forward more than you would when you’re a full-back.”
The Republic of Ireland grabbed just a single goal last season – at Stoke – but it was one he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
The day after his wife Rachel gave birth to their first daughter Lilly, Coleman was on target at The bet365 stadium with a diving header in a 3-0 win.
“It was brilliant,” recalls Coleman, who celebrated the goal with a tribute to his little girl. “The last time I was at Stoke was a great day. The day before was a hectic one with Rachel giving birth to Lilly but I made it to the game anyway and I got to score and dedicate the goal to my daughter.
“Wednesday will be difficult for us. It’s always a tough game at Stoke and it will be even tougher now they’ve picked up.
“But we’re in a good place at the minute. Results always brings confidence and that’s how we’re
feeling. We’ve had a good few results and when it’s like that you’re looking forward to going into every game.
Speaking to the Everton Magazine, Coleman revealed his affection for his hometown.
“I know everyone loves where they’re from but I really do love Killybegs,” he said.
“I’m just Seamus, who they’ve known playing the Gaelic and kicking a football against the wall on St Cummins Hill, the housing estate I grew up on. This is peace and quiet and family and friends, walks along Fintra Beach and kids on the estate knocking on the door and asking me to come outside to play football with them and chatting about the Premier League. But no one treats me like a Premier League footballer.”