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Coleman expresses interest in starting managerial career in the League of Ireland

“It’s a very good league and a league I’m proud to have played a part in,” the Ireland captain said.

SEAMUS COLEMAN IS unsure if he’ll have a second stint in the SSE Airtricity League as a player, but the Everton defender is certainly open to returning as a manager.

The Republic of Ireland captain joined the English Premier League club in January 2009 after impressing during the two full seasons he spent with the first-team squad at Sligo Rovers.

Seamus Coleman Ireland captain Seamus Coleman in possession during yesterday's game against Celtic. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“I keep in touch with the league, keep in touch with how [Sligo Rovers] are doing, check the scores every Friday night to see how they’re doing,” the Donegal native said on the latest episode of the Greatest League In The World podcast. “To be honest, I do the same with Finn Harps as well, being from Donegal.”

Having returned from a 10-month injury lay-off earlier this year, the 29-year-old right-back is still at the peak of his powers on the pitch. However, he does intend to pursue a career in management once his playing days are over.

“For me, my focus is probably playing as long as I possibly can in England at the highest level I can. I wouldn’t want to come back to the League of Ireland just to come back. I’d want to make sure that I had something to offer,” he said.

“I know James [McClean] is very passionate about coming back to Derry. Him being a Derry lad, that hits home a bit more for him. He wants to come back with plenty in the tank, from talking to him. I possibly want to play as long as I can at the highest level and then see from there.

“It has possibly crossed my mind a few times to get my coaching badges done and managing, starting in the League of Ireland, try to do well and build from there.”

As one of several League of Ireland graduates in the current Irish senior squad, Coleman maintains a keen interest in the domestic game and believes the standard is much better than it’s often given credit for.

The Killybegs man was impressed by Cork City’s Premier Division title triumph last year, as well as Dundalk’s remarkable European run in 2016.

Seamus Coleman Coleman playing for Sligo Rovers in 2007. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“People probably turn their noses up at the league,” he said. “I could be over in England and people are asking you about the standard of the League of Ireland. You might hear the League Two [comparison] thrown about now and again.

“I know that there are some teams in the League of Ireland who are a lot better than others so it’s hard to compare, but Cork City now or the year Dundalk were in the Europa League [group stages], you’re talking about Championship-level teams. You’ve seen how well they [Dundalk] have done in the Europa League and nearly the Champions League.

“People from the outside probably don’t give [the league] the credit it deserves, which is a shame when you think of all the players that have went over [to the UK]. I’m lucky to be captain of my country, James McClean is doing really well, Paddy McCourt, Keith Fahey… you could have watched them for nothing in the League of Ireland.

“Something I really enjoy is when I’m in an airport or something and someone will say ‘I used to go and watch you at Sligo’. I think people need to get out and support it. You could be watching the next James McClean or Sean Maguire.”

He added: “It’s a very good league and a league I’m proud to have played a part in.”

You can listen to Seamus Coleman’s interview with Con Murphy and Conan Byrne in full by clicking here.

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Paul Dollery

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