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Dublin: 6°C Wednesday 21 April 2021

Seamus Coleman: 'We've instructions to keep the ball better and we have to execute that better'

The Boys in Green face the US in Dublin tomorrow.

Seamus Coleman faces the press yesterday.
Seamus Coleman faces the press yesterday.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

AFTER MONDAY NIGHT’S outing in Paris, Seamus Coleman admits everyone in the  Ireland camp realises they need to retain possession a lot better.

The Boys in Green face the USA tomorrow evening in Dublin, days after a disappointing performance against France.

The friendly clash with the Americans will round out a season in which Martin O’Neill’s side failed to qualify for this month’s World Cup through a playoff versus Denmark and subsequently lost the likes of Wes Hoolahan — Ireland’s most influential playmaker — to retirement.

“Definitely, we have to,” said Coleman when asked if Ireland needed to improve their possession game ahead of this autmum’s Nations League campaign. “We weren’t anywhere near good enough.

“We knew we were going to have to defend for long periods, but we were all very disappointed with how we were on the ball and the sloppy passes and maybe the angles.

“We’ve got to take responsibility for that on the pitch. We’ve been given instructions to try to keep the ball better and we have to execute that better on the pitch.

“We definitely didn’t do that against France and in front of our own fans at the Aviva – the quality (of the USA team) probably isn’t as good as France, but it will still be a good side, they are young players and exciting.

“But it is up to us to try to dominate the ball and try to be comfortable on it.”

The game will be the swansong for veteran defender John O’Shea and Coleman says the former Manchester United utility man has been a hugely positive influence on and off the field for his country.

“Josh has been unbelievable,” he says. “His CV speaks for itself, what he’s done in the game for so long has been amazing. You don’t see many Irish players having the career he has had, that’s ever so impressive.

“But John as a person, as a human bring, is second to none. I don’t think he’s changed a day since he left home with all the success.

“He’s been a great example for me and for all the young lads coming through, no ego, good manners, great around the place. As a person, he’s been brilliant for us all to learn from.

“He’s seen it all, he’s got that composure that rubs off on everyone else, and because of what he’s done in the game he immediately has that respect. Just that composure he carries himself with.”

The Ireland skipper was speaking shortly before Marco Silva was confirmed as Everton’s new manager yesterday.

The Donegal native insists he’s excited to get working with Sam Allardyce’s successor and is targeting silverware with a Blues side whose new style may suit him better.

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“Listen, these questions can be difficult because they can write different headlines,” said Coleman when asked if Silva’s set-up is more conducive to Coleman’s strengths.

“I respect every manager who comes in to Everton Football Club because they’re all coming in to do the right thing, try to win games.

“Some styles, people like; some styles, people don’t like. I worked extremely hard for the manager and I respect what he did. He worked hard to try to get us up the league and unfortunately for him, he didn’t get to stay on.

“But now with the new manager coming in, there is that style that he plays that possibly will be good for full-backs and very exciting.

“But it’s always very easy for us players to hide behind managers. We have had three or four now and maybe we get away with a bit of the stick that’s flying around because it’s always on the manager’s toes, whether that be Roberto, Ronald, Sam, Moyesy before that.

“It’s about time us players now need to step up to the plate. We’ve not been close to winning something for a long time and at Everton, that’s what we want, that’s what I want.

“I’ve been there a long time and if I leave without having won anything, I’ll be very disappointed.”

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