David Moyes made some excellent signings in his eleven years at Everton. The likes of Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta and Leighton Baines immediately spring to mind when talk turns to this particular topic. But despite his impending exit, potentially the best signing of the Moyes reign is still at the club, and may well be for many years to come.
For a minuscule outlay of £60,000, Seamus Coleman could well force his way to the top of the “Best Moyes Signing” stakes. The Irish defender goes about his game almost unnoticed on a weekly basis, failing to really draw in much praise from player ratings or post-game reports. For a full-back it’s what you expect, I suppose. But his performance for Ireland against England at Wembley merely emphasized what many Evertonians have known for a while. Coleman’s stock is most definitely on the up.
It’s been a remarkable four-and-a-half year spell for the Irishman. He was picked up by Everton in January 2009 on the back of a recommendation from Willie McStay, a former teammate of David Moyes. An initial transfer fee of £60,000 was agreed with his former club Sligo Rovers and Coleman was on his way to Merseyside.
He made his debut for Everton, of all places, away to Benfica. Out of position at left-back and tasked with handling a rampant Angel Di Maria, Coleman was on the end of a harsh learning experience. Everton’s make shift back-line was torn to pieces and they went on to lose 5-0.
His home debut again came after the Toffees were struck by defensive injury woes. But this time, he gave a truer glimpse of his talent. A marauding, man-of-the-match display from right-back followed, as he was instrumental in Everton fighting back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Tottenham.
A loan spell and regular first team football at Blackpool soon followed, and he went on to emerge as a critical figure in their promotion campaign. Ian Holloway, the then Blackpool manager, was a huge admirer:
“Seamus Coleman is a wonderful young fella who will be a top-quality attacking right-back in the Premier League. I love the way he plays. He runs with the ball and has a great touch.”
Since then, Coleman has gone from strength to strength at Everton. Deployed initially on the right of midfield, he was able to learn about the rough and tumble of the Premier League without his mistakes having catastrophic consequences. Experienced campaigners like Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert slotted in at full-back behind him, often talking him through the defensive side of the game. Coleman has recently alluded to the fact he learnt a lot from those experiences.