Before Wales’ Neil Taylor decided to tackle Seamus Coleman during a World Cup qualifier in March of 2017, the Irish right-back was tipped to join one of the Premier League’s top six clubs.
A second later and that dream was all but over once Taylor had recklessly clattered into Coleman, leaving him with a double leg break and a spell of ten months on the sideline. Taylor meanwhile only had to contend with a mere two-game ban before carrying on with his career.
It should be said that there are varying degrees in which a sportsman can break their leg. Indeed, England rugby prop Joe Marler once recounted a humorous tale about being diagnosed with a broken leg only a week after it happened and still went on to compete in a fixture with what was supposedly a significant fracture. Some careers, as you can see, don’t come to a standstill when this happens and in Marler’s case, he was hardly affected. Even today, there is very little sign of any long-term side effects, as the latest rugby odds from Betfair will attest to with Marler’s team the Harlequins, whom he plays a talismanic role for, at just 9/2 to win the Gallagher Premiership this season.
Essentially, life went on for Marler as it does for others who also sustain similar fractures.
Coleman, however, won’t ever have the luxury of telling a humorous anecdote to the Independent about his leg break given that it threatened to end his career right then and there. Additionally, there was no mistaking what had just happened as the right-back clutched his leg on the turf of the Aviva Stadium. Somewhere in the background, the referee waved a red card in Taylor’s face as the Irish team doctors sprinted onto the pitch.
It is during moments like these when injury of this nature strikes that nothing is ever guaranteed as far as the future goes.
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) March 24, 2017
Of course, comebacks are not impossible but there is still a sense of concern as few can predict what type of career will be had after the hard yards of rehabilitation are put in. As far as Coleman goes, it won’t come as a surprise given how much of a competitor he is, to hear that he was always convinced that he would make a return and play in the Premier League again.
Five years on from that 0-0 draw in Dublin and Coleman has made a phenomenal achievement in itself. Yes, the conversation around Everton’s right-back can, at times, centre on how much he lost in terms of not securing a move to a bigger club owing to his injury, but it’s easy to forget just how much much is required of a player to compete in England’s top-flight.
📅 January 1, 2009 – Everton sign Seamus Coleman for £60k
The biggest bargain in Premier League history? 👛pic.twitter.com/KFuYCliTZ6
— GOAL (@goal) January 1, 2019
The inescapable reality is that it is an unforgiving and ruthless league that will expose any professional who can’t cut it. This is where Coleman deserves huge credit having returned to the Toffees’ first team in 2018 whilst astonishingly, going on to receive the captain’s armband in 2019 following Phil Jagielka’s departure from Goodison Park.
With this impressive trajectory in mind following Coleman’s double leg break in 2017, one can only conclude that the 33-year-old hasn’t given this injury even the slightest chance of affecting his career.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 31, 2018
Remarkably, the Irish international has racked up an impressive 383 caps for Everton as of May 2022 and will go down as one of their all-time greats when he eventually leaves the club.
Needless to say, this was not an outcome that was even remotely considered as Coleman gazed up into the Irish night sky on that fateful evening in March 2017.