Not for the first time, Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has come out to bat for his players, this time with a staunch defence of Seamus Coleman following recent criticism of the player.
Following a brutal 5-0 loss to Spurs in early March, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher tore into the performance of Everton’s Coleman, making headlines on these shores with his comments.
Speaking at a media event in Sligo, Kenny explained why the harsh words from Carragher were somewhat misguided.
"I thought Seamus actually was in really good form when Frank Lampard came in first, and then just to have a bad game that was live on TV, he obviously got a lot of criticism and people then believed that’s how he’s been playing for six or eight weeks when he hadn’t, he’d actually been playing very well up to that," he said.
'Seamus Coleman is so selfless'
"So he got criticism, but the issue with Seamus is not that he’s not at the level. He is at the level, it’s just sometimes he’s put himself out there when he’s not been 100 per cent, putting the team first, and he’s not one to speak up, it’s ‘if you want me out there and the physio says I’m right, I’ll play’, so he’s come back very quickly from injury and probably when he wasn’t right. And I’ve seen him in some matches when he knew he wasn’t right. He’s so selfless that way."
Carragher had said that Coleman was part of an Everton defence which was not of Premier League quality.
"When we talk about a team being too good to go down, well that's because we look at Everton's strikers - Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin - this back four is a Championship back four," said Carragher.
"There's absolutely no doubt about this whatsoever. Seamus Coleman, I actually feel sorry for him, he's been a great full-back for Everton, but right now this is happening far too much, where people are just running in behind him.
"And that goes back to Everton's recruitment, that Seamus Coleman's still playing right now."
Hopefully Stephen Kenny knows more than Carragher, with Ireland now missing their other first-choice fullback, the in-form Matt Doherty, for the upcoming Nations League.