Seamus Coleman gives positive fitness update as he targets return for vital September qualifiers

Coleman was forced to miss last month’s double header against Greece and Gibraltar with the knee injury which also ended his club season prematurely. Since then Coleman has not only signed a new one-year contract with Everton but has also been able to return to light training.

It’s unlikely he will be fit for the start of the Premier League season next month but Kenny – who said last month he could not set a timetable for his captain’s availability – will be encouraged to see him do even minimal work under Sean Dyche and his staff

“It’s been very good to be back. I’ve been in a little bit over the summer trying to get the knee as strong as possible to get back as quick as possible,” Coleman told the club website.

“It’s been great to see all the lads come back in. Everyone has come back in good shape, which is a positive sign and, obviously, we’ll be hoping to add some bodies to that as well. I’m very excited to have the lads back in and very excited for the season ahead. I think we all need to be like that — we have to be positive.”

Coleman says he took solace from the reception he got from fans after his injury as he was forced to watch their battle against relegation – safety was only secured late on – from the sidelines, fans noting his clenched-fist gesture to them as he was carried off on a stretcher with that season-ending injury in May.

“Their support means everything to me,” he said. “I knew coming off the pitch that night [against Leicester]as I was in quite a lot of pain that it was probably the end of my season, so I thought, ‘What else can I do, as one last thing to keep us going or to keep the crowd going?’… I’ve lifted my fist to them because I know them and they know me — and I knew I’d get a reaction from it and I knew the lads would, too.

“Thankfully, we ended up getting a point that night. The fans’ support to me has always been incredible and I really appreciate it.

“I live in the city and I see them all of the time — they’ve always been great with me. I think — and I say this to all of the players — all they ever expect from someone is to give their all and to show respect to what you do and for this football club. If you do that, they’ll welcome you with open arms.”

“When you hear your name being sang, it is quite emotional and it does touch you. I can only thank them for that. At the end of the game it was just relief for us all. That was the most important thing — that this football club stayed up. It goes to show that there is no God-given right to stay in this league and you’ve seen that with the teams that have been relegated. We need to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in that situation again.”

Once he’s fit again Coleman can close in on a new target as he is just three games shy of Tim Howard’s club record for Premier League appearances. “I’m very fortunate,” he reflected. “I came over here as a reserve player, as everyone knows. I just wanted to be the best I could be every single day and keep pushing every single day.

“It’s the club I know, it’s the club that took me in as a 20-year-old and looked after me. I’ve tried to repay that in every way I could. It’s hard to walk away from something you love and I still feel good on the pitch at the minute.

“This is my club – and I love it. To be honest, I had a bit of thinking this time around, which was different to the past. You always hope for better and the past couple of years haven’t been great but I always believe and I’m always positive things can get better.”

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