IRELAND CAPTAIN Seamus Coleman will not be back in time for Ireland's crucial Euro 2024 double-header against the Netherlands and France next month.
Coleman has been out since suffering a terrible knee injury at the back end of the last Premier League season. His injury meant that he has missed all of Ireland's games this year, and this trend is set to continue.
Stephen Kenny's Ireland will firstly play France on September 7 and head home to tackle the Netherlands on September 10.
Coleman has not featured for his club side Everton this year, but he is back on the grass. However, a timeframe of October, when Ireland will play Greece and Gibraltar in the October window, is a more likely return period for the Donegal native.
The 34-year-old was present at an event for Spar and was asked about how his rehab was going. The Everton defender responded by saying, “It's been going alright, thank God.
“I've been out on the grass the last couple of weeks with the boots on, getting some running in, and getting the ball work started.
“It's feeling good and a lot better than I would have imagined coming off the pitch that night, to be completely honest with you.
“In terms of a comeback time to play, we're taking it week by week at the minute.
Despite knowing how knee injuries can affect players, especially at his age, there was always a fear that it could have been worse. But thankfully for Coleman, he is on the straight and narrow.
“With the way knee injuries are, and I've never had one before, they always react in different ways. But thankfully for me, it's well on schedule to being back," he added.
“I'd like to think in the next couple of months, definitely, I will be back.
Despite not being able to play in Ireland's two upcoming games, the Ireland captain is optimistic that Stephen Kenny and the team can give both Holland and France a proper test next month.
“It’s tough, really tough; the Greece result was really disappointing. The game against France at home was great, and I thought we did well at times. But ultimately, we didn’t win the game,” Coleman explained.
“It’s a big ask. Holland at home can be a real opportunity for us to get something. They are a top nation, we know that; top-class players. But in front of our own fans, it’s a real opportunity. The France game will be tough without a doubt, but the lads have to enjoy that occasion, enjoy being part of that game.
“Ultimately, that’s what you want: to be playing in that game. But ultimately, the France game will be tough.”