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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

'It made me feel sick inside because it’s someone who I like so much and he's one of my mates'

Ashley Williams said his good friend Seamus Coleman is ‘positive’ as he begins his road to recovery.

Williams said Coleman helped him settle into the club after moving from Swansea.
Williams said Coleman helped him settle into the club after moving from Swansea.
Image: Dave Howarth

EVERTON DEFENDER ASHLEY Williams admits he ‘felt sick inside’ after finding out his team-mate Seamus Coleman had broken his leg during Ireland’s World Cup qualifier with Wales.

The Welsh captain had been criticised by some quarters for arguing with the referee over his decision to send Neil Taylor off for the horrific challenge, but Williams insists he didn’t see the incident and only realised it was Coleman stricken on the turf afterwards.

“I didn’t really see the tackle,” Williams told Everton’s website.

“All I saw was the red card and my initial reaction was to go to the referee. At the time I was in the swing of things. It took me a minute to realise, ‘Actually, he hasn’t got up,’ and that it was Seamus who was down. At that point, I wasn’t thinking about the game, or us being down to 10 men, I started thinking, ‘Is my mate okay?’ That was when I went over to him.”

Although he was pictured comforting Coleman as he was stretchered off at the Aviva Stadium, Williams said he didn’t fully realise the severity of the injury until after the game.

“Even at that point I didn’t know it was so serious. After the game I went straight into their dressing room to speak to James McCarthy and he told me Seamus had gone to hospital and had broken his leg.

Shane Long and Ashley Williams Williams in action against Shane Long during the 0-0 draw in Dublin. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It was just a weird feeling from everyone around the dressing rooms. Even people who don’t know Seamus like I do were gutted. Neil Taylor was completely gutted. He was sitting on the floor virtually in tears. He asked me to check if it would be okay to go to see Seamus in hospital. He got his number off me and sent him a text straight away.

“When I found out it was a broken leg it made me feel sick inside because it’s someone who I like so much and is one of my mates.

“He’s going to have up and down days but the way he is, I’m sure his determination will help with his rehab and hopefully we’ll have him back sooner rather than later and stronger than ever.”

Williams, who moved to Everton from Swansea at the start of the season, said Coleman helped him settle into the club and the pair have developed a close relationship.

“Seamus is one of my best mates at Everton, someone who I’ve got really close to,” the centre-back continued.

“For me personally, I didn’t really know anyone at Everton when I came to the Club but he was someone who made me feel welcome and helped me to settle in straight away. The feeling I get from everyone outside the Club is that they know him as a genuine, decent stand-up guy who always gives his all. And as I know him, he’s one of the good guys in football, just an honest pro.

“I tried to go to the hospital Seamus was in after the game but the FAI said he’d had a few family visitors and they were trying to get him to sleep.

“I sent him a text and he woke up in the night and texted me back. I spoke to him then. I’ve spoken to him since, too, and he seems positive and focused on his recovery.

“We all support him and everyone at the Club will rally round to be there for him during his rehab.”

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Ryan Bailey

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