Quelle surprise: Neil Taylor ‘not that kind of player’

Sarah Winterburn

Chris Coleman defended Neil Taylor after Republic of Ireland defender Seamus Coleman was left with a broken leg in their fierce World Cup qualifier in Dublin.

The Everton full-back was carried from the field on a stretcher after Taylor had been shown a straight red card for his 69th-minute tackle during Friday night’s goalless draw.

The Football Association of Ireland confirmed later that Coleman had broken his right leg and the Republic captain is expected to undergo surgery on Saturday.

Television underlined the severity of the injury by choosing not to show replays of the incident which ended Coleman’s season.

“Sadly for Seamus, obviously, it looks like it’s a bad one,” Wales manager Coleman said, adding Taylor had gone into the Republic dressing room at the end of the match to see the Ireland captain.

“Neil Taylor is not that type of player. He’s had a serious injury himself. He’s a great boy, he’s a cracking lad.

“I’ve not seen the challenge, but I’ve seen the outcome, if you like, and it’s a bad one for Seamus.

“Yes, it looks like he (Taylor) has got that one wrong on our part. I’ve only seen it in real time when it happened and I didn’t see a lot.

“I saw the reaction. I have seen a picture of the outcome, so my thoughts are with Seamus.

“Of course, Neil is devastated himself. But, no, I never said to Neil, ‘What were you thinking?'”

There were few scoring chances in what turned out to be a feisty affair.

Republic midfielder Glenn Whelan caught his Stoke team-mate Joe Allen with a swinging forearm right on half-time, and Gareth Bale scythed down John O’Shea in a fashion which had the home fans screaming for a red card.

Bale was booked, ruling him out of Wales’ trip to new Group D leaders Serbia in June, and once more escaped being sent off for a high foot in the final quarter.

“It was a typical British derby game, there was needle all the way through it,” Chris Coleman responded angrily to Irish reporters.

“In your view do you think one or two of yours were lucky to stay on the pitch, because there was a little bit of both.

“Your boys are not coming off there with halos on their heads. It was going on all through the game.

“I’m not complaining, it was a typical British game of football. You don’t want to see anybody getting sent off, but there were one or two complaints from our boys when your boys were a little bit late here and there, and some of our boys were as well.”

Republic manager Martin O’Neill said he had been told Taylor’s tackle “wasn’t great”.

“I’d like to have been in a position to have seen the challenge,” O’Neill said.

“The players said it wasn’t great. The television people said it wasn’t great either.

“I’ve seen John’s injury and he has stud marks on his ankle. They tell me they’re both pretty bad challenges.”

Serbia took over top spot in the group after their 3-1 win at Georgia earlier in the day.

They are tied on 11 points with the Republic, with Wales and Austria – 2-0 winners over Moldova – four points behind.

“It’s five games gone, we’re exactly halfway. Two games at home, three away,” O’Neill said.

“We’ve 11 points on the board. I would have taken that (at the start of the group).

“Serbia won, Austria won – they’re not out of it. Wales didn’t gain any ground on us, but we still have to go there and they are capable of winning matches.”