February 22, 2024

Paul Tait, head coach of Everton Under-21s, acknowledges Seamus Coleman’s “golden” influence on his young team.

Club captain Coleman made another encouraging development in his recuperation from a medial knee ligament injury on Tuesday night, playing 66 minutes for the youthful Blues. Coleman had played 45 minutes for the Under-21s on Saturday.

They earned a 1-0 away victory over Mansfield Town in the EFL Trophy, with Youssef Chermiti netting a 91st-minute winner from the penalty spot.

Tait fielded a strong line-up the contest. Coleman featured from the start, alongside Chermiti, as well as fellow Senior-Team players Joao Virginia and Lewis Dobbin.

Tait, speaking to evertonfc.com after the game, knows his young players will have learned a lot from the Toffees skipper.

“He’s an inspiration,” said Tait. “What he’s done in the game, and what he’s done at Everton. We were lucky to have him for a couple of training sessions and we had him on Saturday for the game.

“It’s the standards he sets, and he’s got real enthusiasm for the game. It’s golden for our lads to be spending time with him, seeing how he prepares and seeing how committed he is. It’s been unbelievable to have him with us.”

Coleman displayed a strong defensive performance, winning five of his six ground duels, while also being involved in a few promising attacking moves in what turned out to be an end-to-end affair at the One Call Stadium.

Tait believes the game will have provided plenty of learnings for his promising team, as they showed their fortitude to keep pushing for a winning goal.

“We started really well, so I was delighted with that,” he said. “We were a threat from the off and created some really good chances that we didn’t take.

“It was a really entertaining game and there were really pleasing factors around it, in terms of keeping going, being resilient.

“It’ll be great for the young players’ development. We’d like more of these games, really, because they’re a good test to play against men’s teams. I thought the lads held themselves really well and there will be a lot of lessons learned tonight. That’ll stand them in good stead.”

Along with the immeasurable impact of Coleman, Tait was delighted with the displays of Chermiti, Dobbin, and Virginia, who all earned valuable minutes for his side.

“Joao was excellent. He made one incredible save to tip it over the bar. He was a really good presence, and his distribution was great. He’s had one training session with us, but I thought he really understood our build-up, while giving us the option to go in behind, as well. It was a really positive performance for him and I think he’ll be happy.

“Youssef has got his first goal for the Club and he’ll be happy with getting 90 minutes under his belt. It was ideal for him to get those minutes and it’s ended up being a really positive night. He kept going and going, won the penalty, and then had the composure to take the penalty himself and slot it in.

“The last time we had Dobbs was pre-season against Tranmere. He was electric and he showed flashes of what he can be tonight. Again, he’ll tell you that he wants minutes, and we were very happy to have him tonight – he really improved our team.”

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