Seamus Coleman has hailed James McCarthy for giving him a licence to roam to such impressive effect this season.
The Everton FC right-back insists he would not have been able make his marauding forward bursts without energetic team-mate McCarthy, who covered for him automatically in every game.
The Republic of Ireland duo were both on top form for the Toffees this term, with Coleman’s seven goals earning him a place in the PFA team of the year and being named Everton’s player of the season.
He said: “Obviously you learn the more you play – you never stop learning. I feel comfortable in the right-back position now and thankfully I have got James in midfield who, when I do bomb on, covers brilliantly for me.
“Without him I probably wouldn’t have been doing as many forward runs in games as I have done because I can trust him to cover for me. He has been brilliant doing that all season.”
Coleman was equally quick to praise boss Roberto Martinez as another vital component in helping him take his game to ‘another level’.
Everton’s James McCarthy (left) celebrates with Seamus Coleman after scoring his side’s first goal during the Barclays Premier League match at KC Stadium, Hull – Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Martinez’s arrival at Goodison Park last summer sparked the start of a superb season for the 25-year-old.
He scored seven goals from full-back and explains how he began to think differently about his role under the Catalan.
“He introduced himself to everyone on the first day and let me know his thoughts for the season and what he thought I could do,” Coleman said.
“I loved it from day one, really.
“He told me to keep going from where I left off the last season and he would put his bits into my game. He’s done that and I have got a couple of goals this season.
“I’ve gone to another level in terms of goals. It’s something that I was missing so hopefully I can score some next season as well.
“As a full-back, your job is to defend first and foremost, but this manager likes to attack.
“In the first game of the season he got me in at half-time against Norwich and showed me a clip on the laptop of a situation where he thought I could get a goal.
“I took the chance in the game and got a goal from what he told me what I should do. From then I thought ‘he knows what he is doing!’”
While Coleman’s attacking contributions received plenty of recognition, the former Sligo Rovers man also believes he has become a better defender under Martinez’s guidance.
“Last season, earlier on I probably made a couple of mistakes but there are not many players who go through a Premier League season without making mistakes,” he added.
“It’s actually part of my game that I enjoy doing. I know a lot of people see me attacking but I get great satisfaction in going one-on-one with a winger and coming out on top.
“Hibbo and Bainesy have helped me a lots and definitely I have improved and picked up pieces from them.”
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