Cyrus Christie began his deputy duties for Ireland against Iceland on Tuesday night.
With first-choice right-back Seamus Coleman set to miss the remainder of Ireland’s World Cup qualification campaign having suffered a broken leg against Wales last weekend, Christie has been promoted for the foreseeable future.
Speaking after the 1-0 loss at the Aviva on Tuesday night, the Derby County defender revealed that Coleman’s spirits were improving following the horrific injury, and that he had received some words of encouragement from the captain when he went to visit him in hospital ahead of the Iceland game:
“I went in and saw him at the hospital yesterday. He has his family around him, his daughter was there and he’s in good spirits.
“They’re keeping him happy and keeping him going. He’s a great character and has a great mentality, he just wants to get on the road to recovery.
“He spoke to me as I left. He told me there was no better man to fill his boots and that was great to hear from him. That sums the kind of guy he is up. For me that’s a great compliment and it gives me a great amount of confidence because I look up to him.
“He’s our leader, he’s a great player and is one of the best full-backs in Europe.”
Quotes via Irish Independent
Coleman will leave hospital on Wednesday, having undergone surgery over the weekend. The 28-year-old will miss at least six months of action as he recovers.
Neil Taylor, meanwhile, is still awaiting the findings of the referee’s report on the incident. The Aston Villa defender will be handed an automatic one-match ban for the red card after the reckless lunge on Coleman, but FIFA’s disciplinary committee could yet suspend him for the remainder of Wales’ campaign (i.e. five games) if they deem it to be serious enough to warrant such action.