O’Kane is thankful to the Bannsiders

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Eunan O’Kane’s stock may be rising in the English game, but the midfielder hasn’t forgot about his time at Coleraine Showgrounds.

O’Kane caught the eye in Saturday’s live FA Cup fourth tie against Premiership giants Liverpool. His Bournemouth side may have gone down 2-0 in the end, but he picked up the Man of the Match award.

A few more eye catching displays like that could see O’Kane play against the likes of Liverpool on a more regular basis’. If and when the 23-year-old does make it to the Premier League he will say a big thank-you to the Bannsiders for helping him get things back on track again following his release from Everton.

“Even though I loved my time at Coleraine and I am grateful to them for helping me get to where I am, being honest I have to admit that I didn’t want to be there,” he said O’Kane.

“And yet it was the best thing for me in terms of my career, that year in the Irish League was so important. I learned what it was like to be released by a big club.

“When I was at Coleraine there was no safety net, we were playing for three points every week, the manager’s job was on the line and that does toughen you up. It made me realise what football was really about.

“It also made me appreciate things more as you see how quickly things can be taken away from you.

“One minute I was at Everton, working at a £30million training complex where everything is done for you, and a few weeks later I was at Coleraine where we had to watch how long we trained for as the groundsman wanted the lights turned off to save money on the electricity bill. And I wouldn’t swap that time for anything in the world as I learned so much there.”