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'Keith has played 30-40 times for Ireland and I would never have a go at someone's ability'

Seamus Coleman has elaborated on his remarks made in relation to the pundit last month.

Seamus Coleman felt Keith Andrews' recent remarks about the Irish team were unduly harsh.
Seamus Coleman felt Keith Andrews' recent remarks about the Irish team were unduly harsh.

- Paul Fennessy reports from Abbotstown

IRELAND CAPTAIN SEAMUS Coleman has elaborated on recent remarks he made in response to criticism of the team from former international Keith Andrews.

Last month, after Andrews, while working as a pundit, suggested the side looked “clueless” under manager Martin O’Neill, the Everton full-back responded to the analyst in an interview with Off the Ball.

“We’re going through a tough time. Keith has been part of teams himself that could have been questioned at times,” he said.

“It’s very easy from a pundit’s position. I’ve to bite my tongue at times. Keith has got a job to do, Keith has really taken to punditry.

“He might have been trying to make a name for himself by being a little bit harsh the other night. That’s his job, that’s his role.

“When he was a player it was his job to get on the ball and make things happen and at times he didn’t do that.

Sometimes it’s hard to take that criticism, Keith would say the same when he was a player, he got plenty of criticism and would have agreed it was hard to take.”

But speaking at a press conference today, Coleman elaborated on his remarks in relation to the former Wolves and Blackburn midfielder.

“The Keith one in particular, I was at home, I wasn’t with the squad for the game so I was watching it on the TV,” he explained. “I’m captain of the team, my job is to look after my corner. Everyone else’s job is to look after their own. That night in particular, I just thought Keith was a little bit harsh. Some people might say he was being fair, but I thought he was being harsh.”

While not being impressed with his specific criticism on the night, Coleman insisted he was not trying to rubbish Andrews’ achievements as a footballer by responding in the manner that he did.

“I just wanted to stick up for my corner, and it seemed then that I was having a go at Keith as a player. What I said was that at times Keith himself didn’t get on the ball and it was never having a go at him as a player.

I’m saying he had instructions from a manager and we didn’t see that out. Keith has played 30-40 times for Ireland and I would never have a go at someone’s ability and a football player especially, someone who’s done as well as he did in his career to play for his country for so long and to be such an important part of this team.

“But I think as well as that, having played with Keith, it’s always harder to hear criticism from someone who you’ve played with. 

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“As I said at the time, his job’s a pundit now and I think he’s doing really well in that regard. It’s just on that, after the game, we got beat — I’m captain of the lads, I’m not there to help them, and I’m watching that. I’m going to stick up for my corner as well. We’re a tight-knit group and we’ll always stick together as a team.”

Originally published at 17.23

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Paul Fennessy

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