Crazy Paul McShane stat shows just how good HE really is
Seamus Coleman is rightly being lauded for his goal and his half-time heroics in Everton's 2-1 win over Arsenal.
He rose well to direct a lovely header beyond Petr Cech, but where was the marking? And shoving Arsenal players around has become a lot easier since the likes of Francis Coquelin replaced warriors such as Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit in the centre of midfield.
That was Coleman's third goal of the season, putting him second behind Belgian goal-machine Romelu Lukaku in the Toffees' scoring charts, but he is also an integral part of an Everton defence that has given up 20 goals in 15 games and looked shambolic as recently as Saturday's defeat to 3-2 loss to Watford.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) December 13, 2016
This is not to knock the Republic of Ireland captain's fantastic performance but merely to add context.
One Irish international who takes his fair share of criticism is Coleman's predecessor at right-back, Paul McShane. The last of his international caps came in a 2-2 draw with Slovakia ahead of Euro 2016, a performance that all but scuppered the Reading defender's hopes of travelling to France.
This season he has been in goal-scoring form for the Royals and on Tuesday night against Leeds he set a division-leading mark in an area where centre-halfs are not expected to excel.
Most passes completed in the Championship last night:
P. McShane (119)
T. Cairney (116)
L. Moore (116)
S. Johansen (90)
Rotherham (75) pic.twitter.com/jowwt0KmUN
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 14, 2016
Clearly, playing under a former ball-playing centre-half like Jaap Stam is paying dividends for the Wicklow man, as he has captained Reading to third in the table and some of the best possession statistics in Europe.
Context insists we mention Reading lost 2-0 at Elland Road, but the man made 44 more passes than the entire Rotherham team. Baller.