“It’s not the same game I left.”
While Seamus Coleman is known for being one of the best footballers Ireland has produced over the past 20 years, in another world he would have been a Gaelic football star for Donegal.
Long before he became Everton and Republic of Ireland captain, Coleman initially played Gaelic football, and played as a back on his local team, Na Cealla Beaga.
By all accounts he was as fierce in the tackle then as he is now, and if you are to believe the man himself, he was better at Gaelic than he was at soccer at the time.
Speaking at the launch of the SPAR Better Choices campaign on Thursday, the Donegal man said that choosing soccer over GAA was an extremely difficult decision.
Seamus Coleman on Gaelic football.
He said: “I think unless you’re from these small towns, and you’re from these Gaelic communities you actually don’t realise how hard of a decision it is. I was probably better at Gaelic than I was at soccer. Not probably, I was better at Gaelic.
“It was a big loss for the club, and sure the dream of England was a long way away before I signed for Sligo Rovers. I probably felt it was possible but not everyone thought that so to leave Gaelic was a big call at the time. It wasn’t made overnight that decision, it was quite a hard decision to make.”
— Pádraig Amond (@padraigamond21) June 26, 2016
He continued: “But I went with it, stuck with it and I didn’t look back. There was a few winters where I could have went back but I didn’t, I stuck with it. I always said you can go back and give Gaelic a go but you can’t go back and give soccer a go at 24. I made the right decision, thankfully.”
Coleman was then asked which player from his current Everton squad would make the best GAA player, and his answer is not too surprising.
Coleman picks best GAA player from Everton squad.
Coleman said: “Who’d be good? I’d say Jordan Pickford would be good. He’s a bit of a mad man in goals. He’d have the handling skills and a very good left foot.
“He’s not slow as well, he’s quite fast for a keeper. I’d say he might be alright… Do Gaelic have positions anymore? It’s changed so much. It’s just every man behind the ball. I was going to say corner forward or half forward but it’s not how it used to be. It’s not the same game I left.”
We’re surprised Dominc Calvert-Lewin didn’t get a mention, especially with that extraordinary leap of his.