Belfast Telegraph

Coleman is still downbeat as he faces long road back, says O'Neill

By Ben Burrows

Martin O'Neill has revealed Seamus Coleman is still "pretty down" following his horror double leg break but has backed him to return "as good as ever".

Republic of Ireland captain Coleman suffered a double fracture of his leg following a challenge from Wales' Neil Taylor during the 0-0 draw between the two sides in Dublin on Friday.

The 28-year-old - whose estimated £45,000 per week wage at Everton will be paid for by Fifa throughout his recuperation under the terms of the governing body's Club Protection Programme - has successfully undergone surgery and now faces a lengthy recovery period which could keep him sidelined for as long as a year.

And, ahead of tonight's friendly with Iceland, O'Neill said: "He's still pretty down about it. He's not in as much pain, the operation went very well, and it's just a matter of coming to terms with it.

"As Seamus mentioned to me, he just said that it has happened now, he can't do anything about it, and it's what he does now in the next few months that is very, very important."

O'Neill watched Henrik Larsson recover from his own serious injury back in 1999 and backed Coleman to do the same.

"Before I went to Celtic, about five or six months before that, Henrik Larsson had a very serious injury," he added. "He recovered magnificently and the injury didn't bother him again from then until the end of his career, so players have recovered.

"Great players have broken their legs and come back, and Seamus, obviously it's very early for him to start considering all those things, but he is positive."

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