Seamus Coleman returned to action for Everton’s Under-23s during their 3-0 Premier League Cup victory over Portsmouth on Tuesday night.
The Republic of Ireland international has been injured to the best part of a year after breaking his leg in a crucial Euro 2018 qualifier against Wales.
He wasted no time getting stuck into the action with a crunching slide tackle on Pompey’s Jez Bedford after 15 minutes.
Coleman was substituted after an hour by Under-23s boss David Unsworth and told EvertonFC.com that it was “fantastic” to get minutes under his belt and that “it won't be long” before he is back out there again.
Everton boss Sam Allardyce stated a few weeks ago that the Irishman could return sometime in February or March but would reassess the situation after he completed a few games for the Under-23s and a handful of behind closed games at Finch Farm.
The Blues boss was watching on, alongside first-team coach Duncan Ferguson, as the 29-year-old made his return from injury and would have been optimistic about Coleman’s chances of returning earlier than first thought.
No need to rush
With Coleman being such an integral part to the Blues squad, his return to first-team action is not expected to be rushed in an attempt to hopefully turn around the club’s form and fortunes on the pitch as some may expect.
However, after coming through Tuesday’s night test unscathed, the defender is likely to kick his recovery up a notch and look to narrow down a timetable to make his return to senior action.
Allardyce’s side don’t return to action until January 31st when they take on Leicester City in the Premier League and that is almost certainly too early for Coleman’s return.
However, it’s unlikely to be much longer before the Goodison Park faithful gets to see the Irish captain making his customary lung-bursting runs down the right flank for the first-team once again.