Seamus Coleman is aiming to make his return from injury in the next couple of weeks, but does he walk into Everton’s starting XI right now?
When Seamus Coleman broke his leg on international duty in March 2017 after a horror tackle from Wales’ Neil Taylor, Everton fans were terrified of losing him.
That fear was absolutely justified. Coleman is an Everton legend and has been patrolling the right-hand side of the Toffees defence and midfield (such was his attacking capacity) for over half a decade.
Coleman’s Everton career goes so far back that when he emerged his nickname was “Seamus Ramos” after Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, who at the time was a marauding right-back. Yeah, he’s been around that long.
It was unthinkable to be without him; whilst Everton have thrived without left-back Leighton Baines before (especially thanks to Brendan Galloway who has since been cruelly discarded) they always very much missed Coleman.
Until now, anyway.
It would have been understandable for Coleman to expect that he would walk back into the starting XI when fit and be given time to play his way back to full speed, as Mason Holgate struggled to replace him in 2016/17.
But now in 2017/18, it doesn’t look like Coleman will get his place back at all. Why? Jonjoe Kenny.
The 20 year-old FIFA u-20 World Cup winner has stepped into the breach this season and has been putting in displays of ever-increasing competence and quality.
Sure, at first he really struggled to cope with the pressure of playing first-team Premier League football and although he had obvious qualities he would make mistakes and be caught out.
But since Sam Allardyce took the reigns (and moved Mason Holgate to his natural centre-back), Kenny has been thriving for Everton. He now looks established in the position despite being just 20.
All of this leaves Coleman in a strange place. He will need minutes to get back to full-speed, but it would be unfair for him to bench Kenny, so what could he do?
The obvious answer is to take his talents further upfield and play right-wing. Aaron Lennon is currently Everton’s only real wing-threat, and they could definitely use someone of Coleman’s dynamic attacking ability as another option.
Everton lack speed and threat out wide, but with Coleman (and Yannick Bolasie) added to the club’s corps of wingers, suddenly they would have plenty of that and be able to genuinely threaten sides in more than one way.
It would be a shock for Seamus Coleman, but if he wants to remain at Goodison Park then a change of position is surely the only recourse he has.