SEAMUS COLEMAN COULD feature for the Republic of Ireland in tonight’s opening World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Belgrade.
Irish manager Martin O’Neill delivered a positive update on the Killybegs man’s fitness yesterday ahead of the game at Stadion Rajko Mitić.
Coleman has yet to play for Everton this season because of an ankle injury, but the full-back – who is widely tipped to be Robbie Keane’s successor as the Irish captain – is in line to lead Ireland out in Belgrade.
Coleman captained the Irish for the Euro 2016 games against Italy and France and is seen by many as the captain-in-waiting following Keane’s retirement.
“Seamus Coleman has played up to the start of the season,” O’Neill said.[adrotate group=”81″]
“He got injured on the Thursday before the season started but he played against Manchester United in a testimonial so he has come back and he is naturally fit.”
Experienced defender John O’Shea is also back in the frame as O’Neill looks for Ireland to begin on a winning note in Serbia.
With Shay Given and Keane having stepped aside, it is a new era of sorts for the Boys in Green, who are without James McCarthy and Shane Duffy.[adrotate group=”82″]
On the back of a largely encouraging Euro 2016 campaign, O’Neill wants his men to continue in that vein tonight.
He said: “I think the team showed a lot of ability in France but that competition is now over and we start again, start fresh.[adrotate group=”38”]
“In our European qualification campaign we won our opening game in Georgia and those three points proved very, very important for us but I think that any team that wins away from home in this group will have done very, very well.”
The new Serbian manager, Slavoljub Muslin is without the suspended Nemanja Matic and Aleksandar Kolarov for the game.