Coleman blown away by call-up

October 6, 2010

The 21-year-old was drafted in by manager Giovanni Trapattoni ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Russia and Slovakia following the withdrawals of Stephen Kelly and Darren O'Dea, and met up with the rest of the squad in Malahide on Monday. That brought him into direct contact with some of his country's biggest names, and he admits he is still coming to terms with it. Coleman said: "I remember watching the Irish team in the World Cup when Robbie Keane and Damien Duff were setting the World Cup alight in 2002, and to be eating dinner with them, it is a bit surreal. "But you have got to get used to it. "When I was growing up, I always wanted to play at the highest level. You always aim for it, but you don't know what is going to happen. "It was something to aim for and thank God that I have actually got into the squad." Coleman, who signed a new four-year contract at Everton at the end of last season, will go through his paces with the rest of the squad in Malahide this week and will hope his efforts can propel him into Trapattoni's thoughts ahead of Friday night's clash with Russia at the Aviva Stadium. Whatever happens, it will be a new experience for the Donegal youngster, who revealed has never even seen his country play an international at the former Lansdowne Road. Coleman said: "I remember I went to a testimonial, when they played Celtic, with my father, but that's the only one I have been at. "This will be the first one, so it's a good one to come to." Coleman learnt of his call-up in a telephone call while he was on the Everton team bus heading for Birmingham last Friday, and there was at least one other interested party close by. Midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is in the Russia squad, and his young team-mate's elevation sparked some good-natured dressing room banter. Coleman said: "When I got the call-up, a couple of lads were separating us at the dinner table and that kind of stuff, but that was it, nothing serious. "He said they are a decent team. It will be a tough game, but hopefully, we can do it. "If we don't lose, it will be great, but we definitely have a great chance of winning the game. "There's definitely no reason to be scared of them. You just look at some of the players in their squad and there are some great players there. "You have got to respect them, they have some very good attacking players and it is not going to be an easy game. "But if the lads stick to the plan, we can get the three points."