Ireland and Everton star, Seamus Coleman has expressed his concern over the treatment of young players in football academies, fearing it is having a negative effect on their development.
In an interview with iNews Coleman reminisced on his move to the Merseyside club for a fee of £60,000 almost a decade ago and noted the changes in the game since.
“It’s definitely changed,” he says. “I came over as a 20-year-old, spoke when I was spoken to, cracked on, got my head down, tried to do the best I possibly could in training. If I didn’t train well or play well it would bother me until the next game I could possibly play well.”
“Football was everything. Now I don’t know if young players, have got that same — it’s not level of respect as they are respectful — they’ve just been mollycoddled a bit through the academy, it’s all they’ve ever known: good food in the canteen, state-of-the-art gyms, their kit washed for them, their socks put in their kit, grown men having to do their laundry after games for them, they get all that done for them.”
“Top players even here, [Leighton] Baines, Jags [Phil Jagielka] who’ve been here a long time, they probably grew up cleaning boots and cleaning stands and all the rest but that doesn’t happen nowadays. I just feel like you’ve got a hell of a lot of footballers, hell of a lot of academy footballers who probably all believe they’re going to make it, but the reality is they’re not, you hope you’re building good people that if they don’t make it they go on and do good things in their life and career. It’s just the way the game’s gone. It’s hard to stop it.”
The 30-year-old is desperate for success with Everton before hanging up his boots, having never won a trophy with the Toffees.
“All I want now is to bring a cup to this club: an FA Cup, League Cup, win a trophy. That’s what this club wants, that’s what the fans want, that’s what we as players should all want. Something that’s really pushing me on is to do that.”
“I want to win a trophy for the people in the kitchen, for the media team, for everyone, not just the players. I’ve loved my time here, my two girls have been born in Liverpool, I’m well settled in the city.”
Although retirement is still a way off, Coleman did express his longing to return to his native Killybegs where he hopes to join the local Gaelic Football team.