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Seamus Coleman says Everton fans will '100%' back Rafa Benitez

The former Liverpool manager’s appointment was widely viewed as a controversial one.

Rafa Benitez (file pic).
Rafa Benitez (file pic).
Image: Owen Humphreys

EVERTON AND Ireland star Seamus Coleman has acknowledged that Rafa Benitez may not have been the most popular choice as the new Everton manager, but the full-back is confident fans will get behind the new boss.

Former Toffees captain Phil Jagielka has warned that the 61-year-old manager faces a “rocky start” at Goodison Park. 

The coach helped Liverpool win the Champions League in 2005 and spent seven years in total as manager there, with the recently announced appointment widely viewed as controversial and leaving a section of the Everton fanbase unhappy owing to his past connections with their bitter rivals.

Coleman, who says he has not yet spoken to Benitez, believes supporters will back him.

“We understand how the fans feel about their football club. There’s been a bit of unrest amongst the fans, we understand that. But I also know Everton fans. I know how they work. I know that once the manager would have signed that contract, they will back him 100% and once he gets in the stadium, they’ll back him and he’ll get a great reception.

“As players, we’re all going to go back and try to be as prepared as we possibly can and we’re in his plans first game of the season to try to impress him as much as we can. He’s got a track record of winning trophies, which is good for players to see as well.”

NO FEE 478 Seamus Coleman SPAR ambassador

He continued: “Any time we played his Newcastle team they were very well organised. Tactically they were probably well aware of what was needed from them from minute one to minute 90 I’d imagine. From the outside looking in it looks like he’s very well tuned in tactically.

“I don’t expect a lot going into Finch farm, only that I need to focus on myself and the team and to try and impress the new manager — because ultimately, new managers want their own players and their own things. You’ve no God-given right to go back and expect to be part of anyone’s plans.” 

And asked whether he felt some of the anti-Benitez protests overstepped the mark, Coleman said: 

“Every club has got some fans that overstep the mark in some regard. Some of the banners weren’t ideal but I think that’s a small minority. You don’t know how old these people are, you don’t know how connected they are to the football club. When things happen in football like this, these things come across as being very big news but you actually don’t know. Is that a small group of people? Is it one person? You don’t know but it looks like it’s the whole fan base. 

“I know the Everton fan base are a good bunch of people. They’re really respectful, really hard working, love their football club. I think it would be very unfair to judge the Everton fans on one or two banners. We don’t even know how connected or how often they go to the games. We don’t know anything about the people who put those banners out.” 

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The Ireland skipper also said he wasn’t overly surprised at previous boss Carlo Ancelotti’s sudden departure to take over at Real Madrid.

“When you’ve been in football for 12 years, very little shocks you anymore. It’s a crazy game, things happen at the drop of a hat. The manager went, it was disappointing. He’s gone on now to do what he’s going to do. I wish him the best. When he was at the club, he gave it his all, but football moves on. Now we’re going into the new season with a new manager and that’s our concern at the moment.

“I can only say that I learnt a lot from him during his time at the club, we had a very good relationship with him and I’m thankful for that.” 

SPAR Better Choices ambassador and father of three, Seamus Coleman. The Republic of Ireland and Everton captain today launched SPAR’s Better Choices summer 2021 campaign, bringing healthier food and refreshment options into Irish homes, gardens and parks for all the family to enjoy this summer. SPAR has also created a specially curated online hub at www.spar.ie/betterchoices providing customers with delicious recipes and suggested shopping lists to make planning for staycations, barbeques and match nights in, simple, healthy and tasty. Available now in more than 400 SPAR stores across Ireland, SPAR Better Choices products are easily identifiable by the green sticker.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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