I was at the magnificent St George’s Hall, opposite Lime Street Station, for Everton’s end-of-season players’ awards dinner last night, when it was great to see Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley recognised by their team-mates, winning the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards.
Coleman, 25, signed from Sligo Rovers in 2009, has grown into one of the best right-backs in the business, going from strength to strength since I saw him make his senior home debut as a substitute against Tottenham in December, 2009, when he changed the game, making two goals. As well as being a very good player, Seamus is a lovely lad, humble and with time for everyone. A wonderful example to any youngster hoping to make a career in the game.
Barkley, 20, much praised by manager Roberto Martinez throughout his full debut season, was another worthy recipient. His fabulous strike against Manchester City last weekend, in front of watching England manager Roy Hodgson, might just have clinched his place on the ‘plane to Brazil for the World Cup.
So many players, Distin, Barry, Lukaku, McCarthy, Howard, were candidates for Player of the Year, but you could not argue with Coleman as the choice of both the fans and his team-mates. If he and Barkley maintain their progress, which I’m sure they will, the omens are good for Everton next season.