Everton resume climb of the Premier League table on Saturday with the short trip to Blackpool, the home of one of this season’s most enthralling teams. Ian Holloway’s side are banking survival on some of the best football being played in the top flight today, and one Toffees’ player has deep knowledge of the Seasiders – former ‘Pool loanee Seamus Coleman.
Coleman made nine appearances for Holloway’s team at the tail end of last year’s ultimately-successful promotion campaign, scoring once, and generally impressing before all who saw him in a Tangerine shirt. The Irishman’s extended run of first team football confirmed what those who had seen his fleeting appearances for Everton already knew – that Everton had on their hands a truly exciting young player. Now 22, Coleman was part of the XI that eventually won promotion from the Championship, starting in the Play-Off final in what was then his best position of right-back, and not looking over-awed at the magnitude of the game in any way. Instead, Coleman played with the vigour that has been his trademark ever since a memorable substitute appearance for Everton against Tottenham Hotspur in December 2009.
On that freezing cold winter’s day, Coleman was fantastic and rarely has a right-back turned a game so decisively, not to mention a 21-year-old right-back making his first appearance at Goodison Park. Looking back, Coleman’s performance was even more impressive when it is considered that the left midfielder tasked with containing him for the second half was the man of the moment, Gareth Bale, and both Everton’s second half goals came with Coleman at the heart. Entering the fray as an early first half substitute – replacing Joseph Yobo in the 14th minute – Coleman joined an Everton defence in total disarray. Yobo’s departure left the back four without a recognised centre-back – full-backs Tony Hibbert and Lucas Neil made up the central pairing – and the makeshift unit had been breached twice after half time. The Toffees has toiled all game without success but it soon became clear following Coleman’s introduction that he was their best hope to create a goal, and so it proved.
Bursting down the right flank Coleman first teed up Louis Saha to pull a goal back and then, with 4 minutes left, again pulled the ball back across goal, this time finding Leighton Baines whose miscued shot was turned in by Tim Cahill. It was a stunning home debut from Coleman, to the point that Cahill told The