Irish Daily Mail

COLEMAN ‘PROUD’ OF HIS GOODISON PARK LONGEVITY

- By PHILIP QUINN

SEAMUS Coleman is targeting a ‘Euro place’ with Everton under Rafa Benitez in the new Premier League campaign after acknowledg­ing the Blues ‘tailed off’ last season. ‘We’ve a squad now that compares to any we’ve had in my time at the club. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is at the peak of his powers and Jordan (Pickford) was brilliant for England (in the Euro finals),’ said Coleman. ‘The last few years were massively disappoint­ing.’ The long-serving right-back will lead out Everton on the occasion of his 300th Premier League appearance for the club in the season’s opener at home to Southampto­n on Saturday. ‘To stay for so long is something I’m proud of. I’ve not been given it; I’ve had to earn it,’ said the 32-year-old Donegal native, a bargain buy at £60,000 from Sligo Rovers in January 2009. ‘Sometimes it can feel a long 12 years; when it’s going well, it feels like yesterday. The years have flown by,’ he said. Coleman felt his stand-out season was in 2013-14 under Roberto Martinez when the club ‘just missed out on the Champions League’ and he made the PFA Team of the Year On his leadership style, for club and country, he said: ‘I’m not doing it as the captain. I’m doing it as I’ve been the young player who was nervous, the player having a bad run of form, who needed an arm around the shoulder, or who needed a kick up the backside. ‘I do all I can to make people feel comfortabl­e.’ UEFA have announced there will be no away fans permitted at the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers next month, either away to Portugal (September 1) or at home to Azerbaijan (September 4) and Serbia (September 7). FIFA and UEFA continue to prohibit sales of tickets to away fans, for all senior internatio­nals in September, although 25,000 fans are permitted to attend the Azerbaijan and Serbia games in the Aviva Stadium.

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