Everton and Ireland right back Seamus Coleman received plenty of criticism on Monday night.
Everton were 5-0 down against Tottenham before the 60-minute mark on Monday night.
Seamus Coleman wasn't the worst player on the pitch, but he wasn't standing out positively either. The Ireland captain was repeatedly out of position and exposed in space by the Tottenham attack. Everton's whole team was repeatedly out of position and exposed in space by the Tottenham attack.
Ironically, Matt Doherty played a key role in exploiting the space around Coleman. He picked out Harry Kane with a perfect ball into space vacated by Coleman for Tottenham's fifth goal.
Former Scotland and Chelsea player Pat Nevin is reluctant to criticize Coleman. But at 33 years of age, it's undeniable that his athleticism has diminished somewhat. Coleman won't be a regular starter for Everton moving forward because of the imminent arrival of Nathan Patterson.
"You asked me about [Everton right back Nathan] Patterson in comparison to Coleman," Nevin said.
"I told you right away, Coleman's days are numbered there. He's had his time. Patterson is top quality. He's going to come on, he's going to be absolutely fine. Patterson actually started against Boreham Wood, they brought him off for Coleman at halftime. The Everton fans actually applauded every single thing Patterson did, because they could spot right away he's class."
Considering his character and his career to date, Coleman will still be a valuable player to teams for years to come. His leadership is famously consistent both for Ireland and Everton. He's a beloved figure at club and for country so there won't be complaints if he's a squad player who rarely features.
Nevin describes a player who still has everything except his pace. That means he will be effective at a lower level of football.
"It's not the same Seamus Coleman and that's paying a compliment to saying how brilliant he was. It's not that he's incapable of going forward, but if he goes forward he won't get back in time now. It looks like a number of teams are trying to play him. But it's not just Seamus. He's not the worst player in that defensive line today, not by a long shot.
"He's still doing all the right things when he's supposed to be doing them, but in terms of the pace...at this level, it's getting really, really hard for Seamus.
"You hate writing off someone like that, who you like so much and he's been so brilliant. He's phenomenal for Everton. The perfect class act for Everton all the time as well. But he can't play every game and at the moment it's looking like his days are numbered."
Could Coleman be the next big name player to return to the League of Ireland? He may be a year or two away from that point at this point. But maybe a more important question: If Coleman is no longer a starter for Ireland, who will take over as captain? Stephen Kenny will have a difficult choice to make as he transitions to a squad of younger, less experienced players.
Regardless, Coleman will go down as a legend for Everton and Ireland whenever he eventually retires.
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