Seamus Coleman in line for Republic of Ireland return after knee injury ‘scare’

Seamus Coleman will return to Republic of Ireland action determined to make the most of the time he has left on the international stage after fearing his career could be over.

The 35-year-old Everton defender has not represented his country since doing a job on superstar Kylian Mbappe in a 1-0 Euro 2024 qualifying defeat by France in March last year as a result of a serious knee injury suffered at Leicester five weeks later.

However, he is in line to pull on the green shirt once again in Saturday’s friendly against Belgium and is keen to play his part after watching the last qualifying campaign unravel in his absence.

Coleman, who only returned to senior football after his medial ligament injury in December, told a press conference: “It’s always tough watching on and to see the team not doing so well is very tough.

“I’ve been there when I’ve been fit and a part of teams that aren’t doing well, so I know how it feels, it’s tough.

“It always hurts us when we play for our national team and it doesn’t go to plan, but, personally speaking, I was kind of tunnel vision towards getting fit.

“It was a bit of a scare the night of the Leicester game because I kind of thought that might have been it. It looked to be a bad injury, but thankfully I got away without it being an ACL, which was important at my age.

“At the time, I was just completely focused on getting back fit. Obviously I watch out for the lads and care for the lads when I’m not here, but I had full focus on trying to get back to play at this level.”

Coleman’s return coincides with the installation of former team-mate John O’Shea as interim head coach as the Football Association of Ireland prepares to unveil Stephen Kenny’s successor next month.

However, England Under-21 boss Lee Carsley has revealed it will not be him after confirming he held talks with the FAI following Kenny’s departure in November, but that the discussions went no further.

Carsley, who won 40 caps for Ireland and was understood to be the FAI’s preferred candidate after leading the Young Lions to European Championship glory last summer, told the Daily Mail: “We had an initial conversation in November. I went to speak to them. Really informal, enjoyable, for around an hour. It went no further.


“It was good to see what their thoughts were and to explore whether I was ready to take that next step. It just went no further. I didn’t push it.

“I’ve always said that I’m really privileged to do this job I’m in. I appreciate that I’m in a really good position with a lot of responsibility.”

Meanwhile, broadcaster Sky has been confirmed as the new primary partner of the Ireland men’s team, which had been without a main sponsor since 2019, and at the same time extended its two-and-a-half-year partnership with the women’s team.

The deal will run until 2028 and cover the nation’s involvement in the Women’s Euros in 2025, the 2026 World Cup, the 2027 Women’s World Cup and Euro 2028.


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