Coleman on the pressures facing young footballers

Saturday 8 October 2016  49 Comments  [Jump to last]

Seamus Coleman has been talking about his rise to captaining Ireland, the joy of scoring a winning goal and the challenges and social media pressures facing young footballers today.

The 27-year-old scored the only goal in the Republic of Ireland's 1-0 win over Georgia on Thursday as his starring role for his country continues. He discusses a wide range of footballing matters in a long interview with the Daily Mail, starting wth his nervousness at leaving home at aged 20 to join Everton in 2009 and the pressures on young footballers in today's game.

"I sat in my hotel room that first night and I didn't want to be here," he said. "Not in terms of the club — I was blessed that a club like Everton wanted me — but in terms of missing home. I found it tough. And I was 20.

"I think a 15 or 16-year-old coming over from a place like Ireland really needs help. They need someone protecting them or looking after them. It's a big bad world out there in football and it's easy for a young footballer to be sucked into a certain way of life.

"If I see a footballer with a Louis Vuitton wash bag I wonder what that does to others. If you are the only young lad in the changing room without one then you feel that pressure that you need to go out and get one. Even if you don't want one or even like one.

"That's what I think is wrong with football. It's completely wrong. Your job is to train well and play well on Saturday and do well week in, week out. That's your job. Your job isn't to be going out and buying the best of everything just because someone else is.

"How do you change it? I don't know. I just hate the thought of a young player in a dressing room feeling worried because seven of the lads have something that he doesn't have."

Coleman has had his ups and downs in form, including last season when the whole Everton side struggled in what was a disappointing campaign. He recalls how David Moyes's "tough love" approach was beneficial to his progression and he is now working under a manager in Ronald Koeman who can be similarly forthright.

[L]ast season I didn't hit my standards and that has stuck with me even if it's very difficult to stand out in a team who are conceding goals. Footballers don't like to be criticised but I have no problem taking it when you haven't played well. 'I will listen and take it on the chin and try and bounce back.

Seamus Coleman

"When you are not playing well the first thing you have to do is realise it yourself," the fullback said. "I grew up in Ireland being told that I was doing things wrong. Then when I got here David Moyes was tough with me too. Really tough, but it was the best thing for me.

"If you make a mistake, you need to do better. If a manager criticises you then he's doing it for a reason.

"The game has probably changed a little in that lads don't like being told but the fact is that you have to be prepared to take it and get on with it."

"Every manager is different," Coleman continued, admitting that he was stung by the criticism he and the Blues received last season. "Roberto played a more open game and made no secret of that. He liked his full backs getting high and unfortunately at times we conceded too many goals.

"This manager wants us to be solid first and then build on that with the quality attacking players.

"It's not a case of one being wrong and one right but we are more solid this season. Every time a manager comes in he puts a twist on things. This one is big on work-rate. He is demanding the best from us.

"[N]ow it's not just four defenders who have to defend. Koeman demands that we all defend, from front to back."  

Reader Comments (49)

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Don Alexander
1 Posted 08/10/2016 at 14:50:33
Please give this guy the armband, Ronald. He's a player who visibly gives a shit, having earned the right to play by starting at the bottom of the pile and working bloody hard every week to just see if he could maybe make the breakthrough into the first team.

I really do respect Jags but he's just too nice a bloke to galvanise others. I suspect Seamus is cut from the same cloth as the Irish RK who was also one committed, talented footballer with no time for posers.

Tony Hill
2 Posted 08/10/2016 at 14:55:04
One of my favourite players, Don, but he looks like he's been running through treacle for us over the last couple of seasons (I mentioned on another thread that he's said he felt restricted by the winger ahead of him under Martinez).

He's looking sharper this season and I agree about him being a possible captain. I want to see him fully back to the form of 3 years ago though.

Don Alexander
3 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:05:32
Agreed, Tony, I just think elevating him to skipper could do the trick. There's been a few marauding right backs who've made fantastic captains down the years.
Tony Sullivan
4 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:11:46
Very perceptive, Seamus.

Obviously not easily swayed by the 'glitz and glamour' of the EPL. We are lucky to have him as our player and he has obvious captaincy potential for the future.

Paul Conway
5 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:31:06
This guy has given 100% for Club and Country and is a true professional in every sense of the word. He doesn't seem to be concerned by haircuts and headphones!
Mick Davies
6 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:40:48
Probably my favourite player for the last few years. The way he conducted himself when going out on loan to Blackpool, and having to sit on the bench watching a washed-up Hibbert looking a shadow of his former self, plus his attitude on the pitch for club and as captain for his country.

There was speculation about Arsenal being interested but never once did he even murmur about a transfer. Solid professional and I agree with Don above; he would make a great skipper, and has the fans 100% behind him – and I suspect his team mates too.

Nick Armitage
7 Posted 08/10/2016 at 15:47:03
A great example of what is right in football. Future Everton captain.

Also watching his goal the other night, I couldn't understand why the Benny Hill music wasn't accompanying the footage.

Mark Morrissey
9 Posted 08/10/2016 at 17:35:26
Great example to every Everton youngster. Well done, Seamus.
Jay Wood
10 Posted 08/10/2016 at 17:40:58
What an absolutely cracking interview!

Don't just read the snippets in the OP. Click on the link for the full interview.

Always struck me as a solid lad does Seamus and this interview confirms it. Lot of commonsense views about the realities of modern day professional football and the players.

I understand why players sometimes get lambasted and ridiculed for what some see as their diva, self-indulgent lifestyle whilst 'living the dream.' But as Seamus touches on in a couple of themes, it can not be easy for a young lad living away from home, in the macho competitive world of professional sport where it's dog eat dog to survive.

Seamus evidently had a good grounding, probably thanks to his family and community. He had the discpline and desire to succeed, to take on board criticism intended to improve him.

Other kids are not so blessed.

We as supporters would do well to remember that sometimes as we can be very quick to criticise and condemn – often without knowing the full details, or even anything at all – incidents reported about players.

Paul Tran
11 Posted 08/10/2016 at 17:50:10
Great interview, great example for younger players. He'll improve under a better manager in a fitter team. He's already one of the leaders in the team and is surely a future captain.
Adam Carey
12 Posted 08/10/2016 at 18:23:52
The full interview is a refreshing piece to read. This guy sounds very grounded in what is expected of him from the manager and the fans.

Also, there is a nice paragraph about how his fiancé came across after finishing studying and how that helped him settle and grow up. They invite youth players for dinner so as not to feel too lost/lonely.

As a man in my early 40s, it reminds me of a time when young players lived in digs with families, and had to graft hard to get noticed and into the team.

Paul Kossoff
13 Posted 08/10/2016 at 19:20:20
"If I see a footballer with a Louis Vuitton wash bag I wonder what that does to others. If you are the only young lad in the changing room without one then you feel that pressure that you need to go out and get one. Even if you don't want one or even like one."

My God, if that's the only thing a young man who has just signed a multi-million-pound contract has to worry about, then not a bad deal hey? What should we do with young footballers then, Seamus? Give them nannies, butlers maybe, or make sure they never have to live in the real world? Oh hang on, that's what they are doing anyway.

[Awaits venomous criticism from fellow Evertonians and who think that everything that comes out of an Everton player is the word of God.]

Patrick Murphy
14 Posted 08/10/2016 at 19:37:09
Paul (#13),

You know that you have a very jaundiced view of all things Everton so it helps to keep the balance when others might take the opposite view.

Young men, particularly rich young men, do need guidance and help; there are a lot of sharks out there who don't give a toss about the player's development or welfare as long as they tag along taking his money. Gascoigne could have done with some better friends and guidance in his early years...

Seamus has been fortunate because he has kept his head down and worked hard with whatever ability he has been blessed with and it must be hard for him to see younger footballers with better skill sets, seemingly focusing on the wrong things, forgetting it is their hard work which will keep them in luxury and not the luxuries themselves.

James Hughes
15 Posted 08/10/2016 at 19:45:12
Paul, I thought he was criticising people/players for unnecessary display of wealth, showing that possessions count for more than training or determination, so I don't really get your point.
Shane Corcoran
16 Posted 08/10/2016 at 19:45:30
Please nobody give Paul any more of the attention that he craves.

Nice interview.

It's sad enough though that the likes of Coleman seem to be the exception.

Steve Hogan
17 Posted 08/10/2016 at 20:06:10
Just when I had pretty much given up on the (mostly) prima donnas that dominate the football scene in the Premier League, Seamus comes along and adds a large dose of common sense and perspective. I wonder whether such a grounded individual has been shaped and moulded by his upbringing in Ireland?

Whatever the reason, it was a really refreshing interview by an honest individual, who no matter what he earns each week, will never lose sight of the fact that he occupies a very privileged position in life compared to the rest of us.

Paul (#13), you're entitled to your opinion, as all of us are, but you seem very bitter in your outlook, despite Seamus telling a few home truths that we all knew about anyway?

Brent Stephens
18 Posted 08/10/2016 at 20:24:22
Well said, Seamus. An island of sense in a sea of nonsense.
Andy Meighan
19 Posted 08/10/2016 at 20:28:14
When I look at the likes of Alli, Sturridge, Sterling, Henderson et al, I just think they are arrogant pricks who look like they wouldn't give you a push off the side. I could be wrong but I doubt it.

I'm glad Seamus plays for us as he seems so level-headed and down to earth. I read the full interview this morning and the way he spoke about EitC was brilliant. Yes, he hasn't hit the heights he did under Moyes but I'm sure he'll come good again under Koeman.

You just get the impression he's thinking he's dead lucky to have got as far as he has got. Great servant and a great lad.

Tony Abrahams
20 Posted 08/10/2016 at 21:24:07
Paul, when a kid signs a million-pound contract, then surely they have fuck all to worry about anymore, even football, now it's made them so rich?
Tony Sullivan
21 Posted 08/10/2016 at 21:33:32
Paul (13) Think about what the word perceptive means, particularly in terms of what Seamus said in the interview,
Frank Wade
22 Posted 09/10/2016 at 00:47:49
Absolute class, Seamus, a credit to his family, his community in Killybegs, Donegal, Ireland, Everton, EitC etc etc. We are lucky to have him.

There is a link in the Daily Mail article to an excellent piece by Jamie Carragher on the growing culture in football of managers afraid to criticise players. Seamus accepts criticism as all good professionals should do.

Paul (#13), I think the point that Seamus was making is that young footballers with more money than sense are succumbing to peer pressure in buying their Louis Vuitton bags, to keep up with the Jones's, rather than concentrating on being good professionals.

Danny O'Neill
23 Posted 09/10/2016 at 01:33:17
"That's what I think is wrong with football. It's completely wrong. Your job is to train well and play well on Saturday and do well week in, week out. That's your job. Your job isn't to be going out and buying the best of everything just because someone else is."

It's how you edit, Paul – the above is the follow-on from the bit you cut; Seamus was leading in to how he thinks it's wrong and that young players aren't focused on what is important.

Class, Seamus. Honesty and humility. Not always your biggest fan but, if there is one characteristic you are starting to demonstrate, it is maturity and leadership. Future, if not soon to be, Everton Captain.

Ernie Baywood
25 Posted 09/10/2016 at 03:50:46
Danny, fair enough calling Paul out on his editing but let's be honest, he couldn't come to the conclusion he arrived at by reading the interview with an open mind. He would have to be deliberately seeking a critical opinion. 'Trolling' is the word people use for it on that internet they have nowadays... And we shouldn't feed 'trolls'.
Ernie Baywood
26 Posted 09/10/2016 at 03:56:41
On Coleman himself, I've always liked the guy. I remember him coming in and just having no fear. Didn't care about reputations; Cahill, Neville, anyone got an earful if they deserved it.

Obviously he's been an absolute steal but does seem to have hit his plateau in the last year or two and we're maybe seeing why other club's didn't think he was worth taking the chance. He's a bit limited on the ball and doesn't really have a cross or final ball in his armory.

I know that seems a bit harsh because he's clearly Premier League standard and cost us next to nothing, but he's stopped improving and we might be able to do better if we're looking at the higher reaches of the league.

Jim Johnson
27 Posted 09/10/2016 at 04:40:40
Well done, Seamus. If you want more of this stuff, take a look at the interview with Tim Cahill in his 3rd World Cup campaign for Australia over the weekend. He speaks about his philosophy on life and many other things, family and so on, and his attitude to training and playing et cetera.

I like to think that Everton Football Club, and of course Fans(!) had something to do with his fantastic career. Still scoring goals for fun, and I can't believe the adoring Chinese want an autograph and selfies. Genuinely grounded.

Brian Porter
28 Posted 09/10/2016 at 06:21:07
Having read Seamus's words, I have to say this guy is a superb example of a level-headed and grateful young man who doesn't take the riches of the game for granted. Seeing his pride at captaining his country, his joy at scoring his first international goal (and indeed the absolute joy shown by Funes Mori after his goal for Argentina), contrasts sharply with having just seen a slow, lethargic, dull and uninspiring England labour their way to a narrow 2-0 win against those giants of European football, Malta!

Even Scotland trounced them 5-1 last month but England's bunch of overpaid, overhyped so -called superstars looked if they just turned up for the photo opportunities. Even when Malta's League 2 standard defence visibly tired in the second half England's pretty boy prima donnas couldn't add a third goal.

Three Lions? More like three kittens and in many ways a perfect example of what Seamus is saying. No fire, no real pride and work rate and why should we expect it from these millionaires who probably feel they're doing England a favour by turning out for the national team?

Almost makes me wish I was Irish or Argentinian. At least they all look like it means something to them to be out there representing their countries.

Paul Kelly
29 Posted 09/10/2016 at 08:19:29
Quality read and perspective, fucking love this lad and now even more after this interview. How refreshing.

And to jump on the Kossoff bandwagon, really mate? What planet you living on? I've never condone anyone being abused on here but, should it happen, you deserve all you get.

Stupidest fucking reply I've seen to an article in a long time.

Paul Kelly
30 Posted 09/10/2016 at 08:47:43
Oh and just to add, remember that roll under the boot and flick around the Arsenal player at the Old Lady? Highlight of that season (for me anyway).

Here's another version: Seamus tripped forward, unknowingly kicking the ball backwards with his studs, on trying to regain momentum he indiscriminately touched said ball on the inside of his foot, knocking it around the back of the Arsenal player, unbeknowingly a gush of wind forced Seamus in the right path to meet ball even though he was tripping over his own laces as he's a useless fuck who only uses Velcro, he then ran on down the wing to numerous applause from the Lower Bullens safe in the fact he had bullshitted 4,000 supporters with his tomfoolery. [From the memoirs of Paul Kossoff.]

Danny O'Neill
31 Posted 09/10/2016 at 09:40:50
Fair assessment on Coleman Ernie; he's as good as he's going to get football wise. Seems as though he is now emerging as a bit of a leader and example both for country and club.
Tony Hill
32 Posted 09/10/2016 at 10:13:30
He scored one of the best goals I've seen at Goodison in recent years, against Southampton with that run and shot into the top corner, and his finish against QPR away a couple of years ago was extraordinarily precise. Like a number of our players, he has a great deal of talent but has got somehow constricted over the last couple of years.

Apart from physical fitness and stamina, Ronald's biggest task is releasing the team from mental paralysis and letting them play with some flair and lack of inhibition.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 09/10/2016 at 10:18:36
Danny (#31), well you and Ernie will not be over bothered if Seamus leaves the Blues, according to one of today's papers (yes, I know) Man Utd want to take Coleman and Lukaku in the next transfer window. If it is true, then it wouldn't bother me if one of them went, I would hope we keep the genuine one.
Derek Thomas
34 Posted 09/10/2016 at 10:35:09
Seems it isn't just about the Gold Bentley then...

Nice one, Seamus.

Dave Ganley
35 Posted 09/10/2016 at 11:30:21
Very well balanced by Seamus. He does seem to be maturing well and I, like others, can see the day that he takes over the captain's armband. He seems to be finding a bit of form again this season, as do some of the others; it will be great to see him back to his marauding best.
Paul Conway
37 Posted 09/10/2016 at 12:55:01
Last season, Coleman was linked with Bayern, PSG, Chelsea etc. Maybe rumours but nonetheless an outstanding player over the last few years. Certainly a real asset.

What if we were to lose him and Lukaku? Gana and Williams would be left carrying the team.

No point relying on the 'Musketeers' for their swash-buckling 20-minute efforts.

Liam Reilly
38 Posted 09/10/2016 at 12:55:13
Hard to find fault with this article. Captain in the making surely.
Jack Cross
39 Posted 09/10/2016 at 14:59:22
I was lucky enough to meet a group of Everton players including Coleman a few years back at a mate's shop opening.

I talked about a number of things excluding football strangely enough. Coleman, seemed a proud family man and a really nice down-to-earth bloke.

We forget they're doing a job and getting a wage, like the rest of us who are employed. I couldn't give a shit how much money they're on. Good luck to them.

We all do the Lotto don't we? Doesn't that mean we all want to have and live their lavish lifestyle?

I think the key word is criticism, if you can take it, you will improve; if you can't, you won't. Simple as that.

Yes, I think Coleman would make a good Captain. But let's not rush too far ahead. Let's get his game back to the standard he should be producing. Then talk about armbands.

William Cartwright
40 Posted 09/10/2016 at 15:26:33
"Ronald's biggest task is releasing the team from mental paralysis."

Nice observation, Tony. Just about sums the situation if you ask me.

Les Martin
42 Posted 09/10/2016 at 16:32:10
Solid grounding from his upbringing, also he takes no mess, ask Costa about that.
Top bloke. I hope we can keep him as we need his type in our team.
Winston Williamson
43 Posted 09/10/2016 at 16:44:47
Coleman is a very good player. He's the type of player who had some skill, but has developed through hard work and determination.

He's what I would class a proper Everton player. Wears his heart on his sleeve, battles but has skill.

One of my favourite players of the modern Premier League era.

Captain material? Definitely! Now? Maybe next season as he'll then be 28 and classed as a senior member of the squad.

David Chait
44 Posted 09/10/2016 at 19:56:45
Great interview... Shows his faultless attitude on the pitch mirrors it off the pitch too. What a tribute to the sport and to Everton.
Paul Conway
45 Posted 09/10/2016 at 20:11:28
Just watching the Moldova - Ireland game and, although Moldova are making it easy for Ireland (21 minutes gone), I can't help thinking why Seamus can not be deployed as a right winger for us,

He has the speed, he can dribble. He would only have to work on crosses... Why not!

Mick Davies
46 Posted 09/10/2016 at 20:12:14
Winston @ 43, I agree totally, and Seamus is having a good game in Moldova up to now. Just worried that the ref isn't protecting him from a dirty winger who's getting away with scything him down whenever he gets beaten by him.
Frank Wade
47 Posted 09/10/2016 at 20:12:26
Seamus has been to the by line 3 times in first 20 mins v Moldova. Another outing for McCarthy too.
Brent Stephens
48 Posted 09/10/2016 at 20:33:35
And a balls-up by Shane Duffy. Embarrassment.
Dave Abrahams
50 Posted 09/10/2016 at 21:37:07
Eire now winning 3-1 Seamus made one of the goals.
Daniel Lim
51 Posted 10/10/2016 at 06:49:29
Tony (#32),

I would like to add to your list the goal he just scored recently, can't remember against which team though.

The commentator: "it's a centre-forward goal..." It certainly was!

Kevin O'Regan
52 Posted 10/10/2016 at 14:25:27
Honest as a bag of spuds, our Séamus, hard working, cheeky, clever and always willing to risk something beyond his natural talent is what makes him one of the best purchases since sliced pan.

Séamus, if you now take Wessie Hoolahan with you to Goodison and tell "Special 1" oer the road to take a long walk off a short plank, I'd be a very happy man.

Adam Carey
53 Posted 10/10/2016 at 15:58:04
Just some perspective regarding these spoiled little rich players and their expensive wash-bags. (That was me being sarcastic just in case anyone didn't get it...) Peer pressure is around us all, regardless of age or wealth, so it shouldn't matter that one of the posters on here is jealous of a footballer's wage packet.

My 12-year-old son needs the 'right' trainers and smartphone when he goes out with his mates or to school. We all look at the nicer cars parked outside our workplaces and think should we go for that flashy motor instead of the family car.

Let's not lose the point of what Seamus is aiming at, which is that it is easy to get distracted from the point of a footballers job, which is to train hard and play for the team and the fans. Up until the late '90s, young players lodged with families, cleaned the stadium, cleaned first teamers' boots, and generally got paid very little. That grounded them.

Sadly, Sky money and agents now mean that era has gone and 15-year-olds are being told they need a new contract and they are set for life by the time they are 20. I bet to any person on here, if we had money and adulation thrown at us when we were 20, none of us would be the people we are now. We would all have issues of some kind that come from too much too soon.

Kristian Boyce
54 Posted 10/10/2016 at 16:10:09
I think the article highlights the issues of the changing face of the game, especially in terms of youth players. Coleman made it to the top the hard way, playing a lower level and even when being signed by us, was happy to go out on loan to get experience. The academy system has created a bubble for young players now, surrounding them with all things football and shielding them from the real world. It's created a bunch of pampered individuals who live a sheltered lifestyle. The promise of fortune has blinkered many on the importance of what the game is all about.

I think many who make it into the academy, feel like they've made it, and the rest will come to them easily. With only a very small fraction actually making it through to the very top, you would think that the other graduates would go on to make it at other clubs. Unfortunately it's shocking to see that so many quit the game after being released from Premier League academies at 19 or 20 years old. You would think that these players would get snapped up by lower-league clubs, but many don't have the will to even bother to try to find a club. They were sold on the glamour of the Premier League but don't possess the hard work element to try to make it somewhere else.

I definitely see the point he makes about the Louis Vuitton merchandise as many of these kids coming through are focused on the financial rewards of the game and not the love of it. The old format of the YTS apprenticeships did instill discipline to the young players and having to live in digs with local families helped them stay grounded. Now we have 16- and 17-year-olds earning £2-3k a week, in a world when the average UK annual salary is around £27k. No wonder most of them live in la-la land and have no connection to real life.

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