Seamus Coleman has been reflecting on what was a personal moment of triumph after making a long-awaited return to Premier League action last night.
The Irish international started for Everton's senior side for the first time since last March following his long rehabilitation from a double leg fracture sustained on World Cup qualifying duty.
Despite having less than an hour's playing time with the Under-23s under his belt, Coleman was named in the starting XI to face Leicester City and he successfully completed the full 90 minutes, putting in an astonishingly effective display after such a long layoff.
He was given a hero's welcome back by the club which included a massive banner in the stands and regular chants of the familiar “60-grand” chant that celebrates one of the best signings of the Premier League era.
“It felt brilliant to be out there,” Coleman told evertontv. “I am delighted to be back and to put the jersey on again. But most importantly, we got the win. That makes it all the better.
“I heard the songs. I did have to switch off from the excitement before the game. I'm so grateful for the reception that I got but I had a job to do and I wanted to make sure I played well.
“But now I can really appreciate it and the support I have had from day one from both Everton and Ireland fans – it is something I will always remember. It was just a very special night.”
Like fellow long-term absentee, Yannick Bolasie, Coleman had been expected to start on the substitutes' bench when Everton met the Foxes under the lights last night and even when he was named in the team, he was monitored at half time to assess his fitness.
The indefatigable fullback was determined to play the whole game, however, and he was a vital part of the side that held Leicester off to win 2-1. Sam Allardyce hinted afterwards that he might give Coleman a rest when the Toffees travel down to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal this weekend but he will have to wait and see.
“I found out a couple of days ago from the manager [that I was starting]. I had been preparing for that moment for the last 10 months. The manager said at half-time to give them a nod when I started to fatigue, but I just told him there was no way I was going to get tired.
“He told me to use my head and be sensible but I'd been waiting 10 months so there was no chance I was going to tire - although I did blow up a little bit at the end!
“I want to play against Arsenal, of course, but nowadays with sport science and things like that it's a lot more analytical. Back in the day, you would be thrown back in and left to keep going.
“But we have a good team here behind the scenes who know what they are doing. I am just happy to be back out there. When the manager needs me, I'll be ready.”