Martin O’Neill has backed Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman to return to his “brilliant” best after undergoing surgery to repair his double leg fracture.
The Football Association of Ireland has confirmed that the 28-year-old Everton full-back had an operation in Dublin on Saturday morning after fracturing both the tibia and fibula of his right leg during Friday night’s 0-0 World cup qualifier draw with Wales.
A statement said: “Captain Seamus Coleman, who went off injured during the game, underwent surgery on Saturday morning after fracturing his right tibia and fibula, under the care of the FAI’s orthopaedic surgeon, Professor John O’Byrne and Mr Gary O’Toole, consultant orthopaedic surgeon.”
Coleman was hurt in a challenge by Wales wing-back Neil Taylor, who was sent off as a result, 69 minutes into a stormy affair.
He was treated at length on the pitch and was given oxygen as he was comforted by team-mate Shane Long, and eventually left on a stretcher to be taken straight to the city’s St Vincent’s University Hospital.
He was visited by manager Martin O’Neill and his assistant on Friday night as graphic pictures of the damage circulated on social media.
O’Neill said: “Seamus suffered a serious leg injury and has undergone surgery. He has had an exceptional season with both club and country, and he will be a big loss.
“But Seamus is so mentally strong that when he has fully recovered he will be as brilliant as before.”
FAI chief executive John Delaney also sent his best wishes to a player who has become a mainstay in the Republic team.
He said: “Seamus has been a terrific captain for his country and on behalf of the FAI Board and everyone in the association, I want to send Seamus our very best wishes.
“We look forward to welcoming Seamus back to the Ireland team following his recovery.”
Coleman faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines - the early speculation has suggested up to six months - and that will come as a massive blow too to club manager Ronald Koeman.