SportSoccer

Exclusive - Seamus Coleman set to return to action in 2017

Coleman's double leg break last month stunned Irish soccer fans
Coleman's double leg break last month stunned Irish soccer fans

Ireland captain Seamus Coleman could be back in action before the end of 2017, according to one of the game’s top medical experts.

Coleman was initially expected to be out for up to 12 months after he suffered a possible double leg break in a clash with Wales defender Neil Taylor while playing for Ireland in the World Cup qualifier against Wales in Dublin last month.

Yet former Manchester United and Southampton physio Matt Radcliffe, who has helped to ease Manchester United Luke Shaw back to full fitness following his double leg break last season, believes Coleman could be playing again as early as December.

In an interview with Independent.ie, Radcliffe has set out a roadmap for Coleman’s comeback, as he provided a more upbeat diagnosis for the 28-year-old full-back.

“There is no reason why Coleman should not be back in training in November and playing again a few weeks later,” Radcliffe told us.

“The big concern with an injury like this is nerve damage, but if it was a clean break and there are no infections or complications from the operation, I would expect Coleman to be back in training later this year and he could play again in 2017.

“You look at Luke Shaw’s injury with Manchester United last season and he had a double leg break in September. He was all-but ready to return in April, but United were keen not to rush him back for vital end of season games.

“So I would not be so pessimistic about Coleman’s injury. There are always issues surrounding the mental side of recovering from this kind of injury because there can be psychological scars left.

“A player needs to convince himself that he can go in to the same challenges he did before the injury, but Coleman strikes me as a strong-minded guy and I think he will be fine.

“I would not be surprised to see Coleman getting back into training at some point later this year and there should be every chance that he could play again in 2017.”

Radcliffe has done some medical work with Wales defender Taylor and believes his own injury record may have contributed to his tackle on Coleman.

“Taylor is a good lad and he has also suffered a broken ankle himself in the past,” he continued. “When you have had that kind of injury, you tend to protect yourself when you go in to big tackles to make sure you don’t come off worse.

“He is not a nasty player in any way and is a good lad, but the tackle was a bit over the top of the ball and all involved are unlucky that we are in this position now.

Radcliffe outlined the recovery programme for Coleman, as he suggested the Everton defender should already be back on his feet.

“He will have had a pin inserted into his leg and that will remain in there even when he returns to action,” added Radcliffe. 

“There will be cuts in the leg to allow the blood to drain and you just hope that everything settles down and the recovery comes without complications.

“Two metal plates and the pin will remain in the leg and that the injured leg will ensure it is stronger than his other one when he returns.

“The aim will be to get the player back on his feet two weeks after the injury and then the road to recovery can begin.”