O’Neill and Koeman back Coleman to come back better

Date published: Saturday 25th March 2017 4:49

Seamus Coleman has been backed by both Martin O’Neill and Ronald Koeman to come back better than ever following his horror injury on Ireland duty.

The Football Association of Ireland has confirmed that the 28-year-old Everton full-back had an operation in Dublin on Saturday morning after fracturing both the tibia and fibula of his right leg during Friday night’s 0-0 World cup qualifier draw with Wales.

A statement said: “Captain Seamus Coleman, who went off injured during the game, underwent surgery on Saturday morning after fracturing his right tibia and fibula, under the care of the FAI’s orthopaedic surgeon, Professor John O’Byrne and Mr Gary O’Toole, consultant orthopaedic surgeon.”

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Coleman was hurt in a challenge by Wales wing-back Neil Taylor, who was sent off as a result, 69 minutes into a stormy affair.

He was treated at length on the pitch and was given oxygen as he was comforted by team-mate Shane Long, and eventually left on a stretcher to be taken straight to the city’s St Vincent’s University Hospital.

He was visited by manager Martin O’Neill and his assistant on Friday night as graphic pictures of the damage circulated on social media.

O’Neill said: “Seamus suffered a serious leg injury and has undergone surgery. He has had an exceptional season with both club and country, and he will be a big loss.

“But Seamus is so mentally strong that when he has fully recovered he will be as brilliant as before.”

FAI chief executive John Delaney also sent his best wishes to a player who has become a mainstay in the Republic team.

He said: “Seamus has been a terrific captain for his country and on behalf of the FAI Board and everyone in the association, I want to send Seamus our very best wishes.

“We look forward to welcoming Seamus back to the Ireland team following his recovery.”

Coleman faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines – the early speculation has suggested up to six months – and that will come as a massive blow too to club manager Ronald Koeman.

The Dutchman told Everton’s official website, www.evertonfc.com, on Saturday morning: “I haven’t been able to speak to Seamus as yet and I hope to do so this afternoon, but he will be aware that the thoughts of his team-mates, the coaching staff, everyone at the club and all Evertonians are with him at this time.

“No-one ever wishes to see something like this happen to any player, much less one of our own.

“The medical staff here at Everton are in contact with the medical staff of the Republic of Ireland and we will continue to liaise closely.

“Seamus will face a lengthy recovery period and we will support him throughout this.

“He is a really strong character and he has a great family around him and we, his extended family at Everton, will be here for him to help him get through this over the coming days, weeks and months.”

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