Seamus Coleman trains with Ireland at the Hive Stadium, Barnet. PA
Leading by example

'Footballers are in a very privileged position and it’s nice to help people when you can'

Seamus Coleman paid tribute to Marcus Rashford ahead of their meeting at Wembley tomorrow night.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 11th 2020, 8:00 PM

A QUICK SCORE update from England, where it’s now Boris Johnson 0-2 Marcus Rashford. 

Rashford first campaigned for the UK government to extend a free school meals programme over the summer holidays – which Johnson’s government eventually agreed to do – and the United striker has since campaigned tirelessly to extend those meal vouchers into 2021.

Having seen the request rejected and derided in the House of Commons, Rashford took a phone call from Johnson earlier this week to hear the government had pulled another u-turn. 

His remarkable campaigning makes Rashford’s day-job seem rather mundane, with his latest commitment tomorrow’s international friendly with Ireland. 

“To be taking that on his shoulders and be genuinely wanting to make a difference, it’s a massive credit to him”, said Irish captain Seamus Coleman of Rashford ahead of tomorrow’s clash at Wembley.

“I think he should be applauded highly. He comes across as a very grounded young footballer, very talented as well. On the pitch, he’s top class. What he’s doing off the pitch is inspiring for all players in the Premier League, to dig in, get involved and help in any way you can with whatever causes you want to encourage. I think Marcus has done a remarkable job. He deserves all the credit in the world.” 

Coleman can speak from experience: he is deeply generous. This year alone he has donated €20,000 to help Ireland’s frontline health workers in the pandemic and pledged €15,000 to the Do it for Dan fundraising drive. 

spbritain-liverpool-football-premier-league-everton-vs-manchester-united Rashford and Coleman meet in less friendly circumstances, during last weekend's Premier League meeting of Everton and United. Xinhua News Agency / PA Images Xinhua News Agency / PA Images / PA Images

He also donated money to an emergency fund for the League of Ireland in the teeth of the April lockdown, and these are only the generous acts that have been publicised. 

“I’ve my own private social media accounts, not out there in the open for everyone” says Coleman.

“Certain things pop up, or people text you about certain things. Sometimes, some hit home with you more than others. Luckily enough by playing football I’ve earned some money out of it and I feel like it’s something to do to help people with. I’ve got two daughters myself and some of the cases I reach out to, it’s parents needing help for treatment with kids, or whatever the case may be. If you can help in any way you can it’s important.

It’s something I really enjoy doing. Sometimes I put my name towards it, sometimes I don’t. The reason I put my name towards is that the likes of yourselves get hold of it and then it gets recognition for the cause. And on the back of that more money can be raised. As a footballer, I think we’re in very privileged position and it’s nice to help people when you can.” 

Coleman is back in the Irish camp having missed last month’s window with a hamstring strain. “I watched from home in Slovakia, it was very disappointing for everyone involved, it was a very destructive week”, said the captain of the Euro 2020 play-off defeat. “Sitting at home wasn’t great when I wanted to be there. I thought the lads played every so well on the night and were unlucky on penalties.” 

Ireland will finish their Nations League campaign against Wales and Bulgaria after Thursday’s meeting with England, their final games before World Cup qualifying gets underway next March.

Coleman will be 34 by the time that tournament swings around, but he isn’t considering following David McGoldrick into retirement anytime soon. 

“It’s not something in my mind. I would be one of those players who puts himself forward at club and country level until I’m not picked. I don’t think I’m important enough or I’m not as high profile as a Robbie Keane to have a retirement.

“I think whenever a manager decides to stop picking me at international level, that will be entirely up to him but I don’t think it will be a case of me saying I’ve had enough. Hopefully that won’t be the case anyway. I enjoy coming away with Ireland and I love playing for my club and I’ll see what that brings but at the moment it’s not something I’m thinking about.” 

republic-of-ireland-training-session-the-hive Stephen Kenny addresses the Irish players in training. PA PA

That hamstring strain interrupted a superb start to the season at Everton, and it’s fair to say Coleman has impressed Carlo Ancelotti thus far. The Italian has ranked Coleman among the best captains he has worked with, pretty heady praise given Ancelotti has previously worked with Paolo Maldini, John Terry, and Sergio Ramos. 

“I’m not doing anything special. Being at Everton so long, I feel it’s my job to keep the standards up. Unfortunately in recent times we had a change of manager on so many occasions but it’s important to keep that morale going and let people know what it means to play for the football club.

“For a manager like that to acknowledge to efforts that go on behind the scenes, because sometimes fans maybe can only see what’s going on for the 90 minutes, but for a manager to acknowledge what has to be done on a daily basis is a massive compliment and one I’m grateful for.” 

Coleman has found himself second-choice to Matt Doherty with Ireland so far, though he will likely get some game time across these three games. Kenny is considering Doherty as cover for injured left-back Enda Stevens, while the manager has also spoken about the possibility of playing both down the right flank in a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel