REPUBLIC of Ireland and Everton captain Seamus Coleman is aiming for a return to playing action in October after a concerning knee injury when he “feared the worst.”
The Toffees’ stalwart missed the last four matches of their ultimately successful battle against relegation after being forced off in the 2-2 at Leicester City in May.
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The 34-year-old Donegal native admitted he was a worried man personally at the King Power Stadium, saying: “It's feeling good and a lot better than I would have imagined coming off the pitch that night, to be completely honest with you.
“In terms of a comeback time to play, we're taking it week by week at the minute. With the way knee injuries are, and I've never had one before, they always react in different ways, but thankfully for me it's well on schedule to being back and I'd like to think in the next couple of months, definitely I will be back.
“I'd say I will miss the next international meet-up but shouldn't be too long after that and then I have a long season after that to look forward to because I feared the worst that night.”
Coleman will miss the Republic’s huge Euro 2024 qualifiers next month, away to France and then at home to the Netherlands, admitting that his absence will make him “desperately sad”:
“Yeah it's tough, really tough as I feel I have missed quite a few of those big games in the last three or four years with different things. The last game I was involved in was the France game at home and they are the games you want to be part of.
“I know we didn't win but I enjoyed the occasion and that's what you look forward to as an international player, games like France and Holland, two massive games. We need to get something from them as well, which won't be easy, but they are games that I'm desperately sad to be missing out on.”
Instead, he will focus on his recuperation at Everton, having already got a touch of the ball on pitch: “It's been going alright, thank God. I've been out on the grass the last couple of weeks with the boots on and getting some running in and getting the ball work started.
“When I say a couple of months, I mean a couple of months to be back playing and at it. But I'll be back hopefully with the team in the next six weeks or something like that. That's where we are at the minute, but it's not an exact timeframe. Like I said, it's been a week to week thing.
“I have reached all the targets and numbers so far on where I need to be. Nowadays with the sports science behind it, they have all your scores from before and you have to reach those scores before you're given the green light to certain things but so far it's going to plan, out on the grass. No setbacks or anything like that.”
Seamus Coleman, Republic of Ireland captain and father of three, was speaking as he launched SPAR’s Better Choices Back to School campaign, which aims to give a helping hand to the next generation when it comes to learning about healthy food and healthy lifestyles.
The SPAR Better Choices Little Chefs’ recipes can be found on www.spar.ie , with details of how to enter the competition on SPAR’s Facebook page @SPARIreland and Instagram page @SPAR_Ireland