Football

Where Does Return Of "World Class" Coleman Leave Cyrus Christie?

Where Does Return Of "World Class" Coleman Leave Cyrus Christie?

Almost a year after suffering a devastating injury against Wales, Ireland's Seamus Coleman is set for his return to international football.

Although tomorrow's tie against Turkey will be of little immediate consequence, the Donegal man will undoubtedly be thrilled to return regardless.

On the evidence of his pre-match press conference today, Ireland's manager Martin O'Neill may be even happier still.

When Coleman's injury came during Ireland's 0-0 draw with Wales in the Aviva Stadium, O'Neill's side had hitherto claimed 10 points from the possible 12.

Excluding that point earned in Dublin, Ireland would amass a total of 8 points from 15 available thereafter - by no means disastrous, O'Neill is of the belief that the absence of Coleman contributed to this dip in form, and, in turn, Ireland's inability to see off Denmark in the subsequent World Cup playoff:

I think it almost goes without saying that we missed him. Had he been fit, I think we may have made it, who knows.

He would have given us a much better opportunity.

I've said to him, and I'd rather say it when hes not in the room, he's an absolutely world class player.

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World class or not, it is curious what O'Neill's overt praise of Coleman means for his able replacement Cyrus Christie.

Recently awarded Ireland's Young Player of the Year during a weekend ceremony, although it was certainly not O'Neill's intention, his Coleman comments will inevitably lead to questions regarding Christie's future involvement in the squad.

At 29-years-old, O'Neill's comments would suggest that Coleman - injuries notwithstanding - will be in possession of that right full-back position for the foreseeable future. Having made such a tremendous recovery, seamlessly slipping back into Everton's side, his fitness and physical preparation will stand him in good stead.

Four years his junior and having recently joined promotion-hunting Fulham, Christie will unquestionably be keen to hold onto his place in the side. Given O'Neill's comments however, he may have to settle for a prolonged spell on the sidelines.

See Also: 'If Mark Noble Had Come Into The Squad, I Would Have Snapped Him In Half'

Arthur James O'Dea

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