Seamus Coleman has spoken out against Jamie Carragher’s repeated criticism of Everton ahead of the Merseyside derby on Saturday (3 September), writes the Goodison News.
The Toffees skipper was on the receiving end of specific criticism when the Sky Sports pundit tore into Frank Lampard’s defence following a 5-0 defeat at Tottenham last year, saying “I actually feel sorry for him” because players could so easily get in behind.
The Republic of Ireland international had no gripes with such an assessment in itself but feels the ex-Liverpool defender has far too much to say about the blue half of Merseyside in a negative sense, and cited Carragher’s criticism of an injured Richarlison in this weekend’s corresponding fixture from the previous campaign.
Speaking at a Spar Better Choices event, via the Irish Independent, Coleman said: “It’s part and parcel of the game that you get criticised. When Carragher had a go at me after the Spurs game, no problem at all.
“But when you are maybe consistently having a go at Everton then you can get more angry at that.
“As a player, I have always tried to understand where people are coming from and Carragher’s comments came after the Tottenham game, when we got well beat.
“We were everyone’s punching bag at that time and we were very bad on that night, but you just want some balance in the comments from pundits at times.
“When you see Richarlison’s ankle bending over on a TV replay and some of the pundits are telling him to get up and stop play acting, then that can feel a little different.
“People were well within their rights to question us last season given where we were, but the lads showed great character to get out of the situation we were in.
“At the end of it all, it could have been a disastrous season for Everton, so you have to understand where pundits are coming from at times.”
Even Carragher has had to admit he was wrong about the Richarlison incident on the last visit to Anfield, but this is the issue inherent to the fact that former players of teams are turned to for quasi-professional analysis whilst being expected to add the emotion of a fan.
It’s bad enough when the pundit studios at half time are always filled with former Liverpool and Manchester United players, but when they are commentating on the actual matches it steps up a gear.
Make that match a heated rivalry like the Merseyside derby and put a famous Reds figure in the commentary box – without Everton representation – then unless they are under strict instructions to remain impartial it is asking for trouble.
Coleman is right to stand up for himself and the club, and as he says, nobody is immune from criticism, especially when they are performing badly.
But when the coverage of a match heavily features unjust criticism against one side from an opposing team’s perspective it will clearly wind people up.
Unfortunately that is as much part of the objective as it is part of the problem for the broadcasters who clearly benefit from the increased attention, so they are unlikely to change.
All Coleman and the rest of the Toffees squad can do is push back against it and perform to their best on the pitch, but it is hardly a proper solution to a growing issue.