Everton skipper makes surprising admission about his 'playing presence' ahead of Brighton clash

Everton captain Seamus Coleman admits he is not the playing force he once was ahead of their Premier League clash with Brighton on Sunday

Everton captain Seamus Coleman is prepared to take the stick from the fans
Everton captain Seamus Coleman is prepared to take the stick from the fans

Coleman also admitted he is happy to bear the brunt of criticism if it means younger or newer members of the squad can escape it.

The 33-year-old will enter his 14th year at the club on Saturday and is 37 matches short of the 400 mark but his performances, like that of the team, have been the subject of some fans’ anger.

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With the club failing to address the need for cover at right-back – although they remain interested in Rangers’ Nathan Patterson – Coleman has been pressed into action when not fully fit or in need of a rest and that has affected his effectiveness.

“There were a few occasions in the past when my form was under scrutiny,” said Coleman in an interview with Everton’s matchday programme for this weekend’s scheduled visit of Brighton.

“I am captain of the club and a familiar face. I would rather it be me than someone coming through, or a player who has just signed for the club.

“I can take it on the chin and understand you have to accept the good and bad together.

“You can’t just read about the good times. You have to take the stick when it comes.

“When you go to the training ground, you do your work and put in your effort. The noise outside of that, in the best possible way, doesn’t affect me.

“I know what I am doing to try to have a positive impact on the team every day.

“I might not be the playing presence I was at 23 or 24, but as a captain and in training every day, I am giving my all, approaching it as if I was a 22-year-old.”